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Sunday, December 25, 2011
Matthew’s explanation of the significance of the virgin birth came within the revelatory dream God gave to Joseph. Such extraordinary, direct communication evidently occurred while Joseph slept. Matthew does not record any detail of Joseph’s immediate reaction, except to say that he woke up and obeyed the angel’s instructions: “Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name Jesus” (1:24–25)...
Friday, December 23, 2011
At the time of Mary’s pregnancy, the idea of a virgin birth was not completely foreign to the Jews’ understanding of their Scripture. Although they misinterpreted it, many of the rabbis exegeted Jeremiah 31:22 (“a woman shall encompass a man”) in a way that suggested the Messiah would have an unusual birth. Their fanciful explanation of that verse (“Messiah is to have no earthly father,” and “The birth of Messiah shall be like the dew of the Lord, as drops upon the grass without the action of man”) at least preserved the general idea that the Messiah’s birth would be unique...
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
At this point in Matthew’s narrative, we know two indisputable facts. One, Mary is pregnant, and two, Joseph is not the father of the child. A third crucial fact comes by way of angelic revelation. The child in Mary’s womb was conceived by the Holy Spirit. That means Mary is still a virgin...
Monday, December 19, 2011
Have you ever imagined being in Joseph’s shoes? Think about his predicament. Joseph is a righteous man, betrothed to a chaste young woman. The future looks bright as he maps out plans to build a family with his soon-to-be bride. But then he hears the shocking news—Mary is pregnant. That’s no small dilemma for Joseph, especially since he is obviously not the father of the child. What would you do?
Saturday, December 17, 2011
If you didn’t pay careful attention, you might pass right over one of the most important announcements in the New Testament: the miraculous birth of Jesus Christ. Matthew took only one verse to announce it. Such a concise statement, though it doesn’t all by itself prove the point, strongly suggests that our Lord and Savior’s virgin birth was not simply a man-made story...
Thursday, December 15, 2011
God became a man. That foundational gospel truth is pictured in every manger scene you’ll see around town this Christmas. Though the incarnation is culturally familiar, it’s utterly foreign to the unbelieving world...
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Extraordinary births are certainly not unprecedented in biblical history. As part of the Abrahamic Covenant, God promised to send a son to Abraham and Sarah (Gen. 17:19–22). They were both beyond normal childbearing ages and laughed at the prospect of being parents, yet they ultimately witnessed the miraculous arrival of their son, Isaac (Gen. 21:1–3). In Judges 13, an angel of the Lord told Manoah and his barren wife that they would have a special son. True to the heavenly messenger’s words, Samson entered the world and for a time delivered the Israelites from the oppression of the Philistines...