The time for the One who was promised has arrived! What was foretold at the very beginning is finally coming to pass!
Yet even the promises we have heard still confound us. How could a child provide healing to the mass of humanity? A humanity still operating as Adam and Eve in Genesis 3: scared, naked, and hiding from God. How can this baby cover our shame, forgive our sins, and be our model of submission to God?
Matthew 1:18-25 provides some hints as he sets the stage for the greatest miracle the world would ever witness.
The birth of Jesus Christ came about this way: After His mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, it was discovered before they came together that she was pregnant by the Holy Spirit. So her husband Joseph, being a righteous man, and not wanting to disgrace her publicly, decided to divorce her secretly. But after he had considered these things, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because what has been conceived in her is by the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to name Him Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.” Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: See, the virgin will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and they will name Him Immanuel, which is translated “God is with us.” When Joseph got up from sleeping, he did as the Lord’s angel had commanded him. He married her but did not know her intimately until she gave birth to a son. And he named Him Jesus. – Matthew 1:18-25 HCSB
The salvation offered to all, began with a visit from an angel. Even as Joseph recognizes Mary’s situation in verse 19, he resolves to address it justly, to not “disgrace her publicly.” Enter the angel and subsequent change of plans. We can only imagine how much harder Joseph worked to keep Mary under his protection after receiving the angel’s instructions. Joseph shielded her from shame.
Joseph also adopted Jesus, extending his lineage and rights to his newborn son. Joseph held nothing back, giving everything his surname could offer, fully and completely to Jesus.
The angel told Joseph everything that was going to happen, and all that was required was obedience and submission. From wedding Mary to naming Jesus, Joseph followed the commands he was given. Joseph submitted completely to the will of God.
I think Matthew tells us these things because of how they foreshadow what Jesus, through His perfect sacrifice on the cross, did for us.
Where Joseph began with doubt and fear, Jesus walked with full assurance, extending to us His assurance and covering us with His protection.
Where Joseph could only provide Jesus with his earthly lineage, Jesus provides us His heavenly one, adopting us into the family of the Trinity and giving us the fullness of His inheritance from God.
Where Joseph required prompting, Jesus willingly models perfect submission to God the Father, obeying every command perfectly.
The birth of Jesus is the best news the world has ever heard, because the birth of the Christ, the Christmas story, is the Gospel story.