19 March 2014

Matthew 1:18-25

“All this took place to fulfil what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet, ‘Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emannuel.’” (vv. 22-23)


God's promise, found in the Old Testament, is fulfilled. A baby, promised to the people of God, is born in the place and at the time that the prophets had predicted, coming to be with us; Emmanuel, God with us.

The story of the incarnation is the most powerful story of the faithful God. Not only does it tell us that God does not make hollow promises, but that God also gives us the most and the best. God's Son is the most costly gift of all, costly to us and to God.

In the passage, the ever faithful God comes to be with Joseph at the point at which he was probably getting very anxious about Mary. God comes to relieve him of his fears and to predict that all will be well. How many times do we read and listen to the words "Do not be afraid?" (v. 20). Throughout history people (including us) have been nervous of what might happen and God comes to tell us again and again do not be fearful "for I am with you always" (Matthew 28:20), as we read later on in the Gospels.

Here is a faithful God delivering God's promises, reassuring us at difficult times, giving us what we need to hear, and offering us all a life that can be free and full and connected to all that matters if we so choose.

To Ponder

  • Recall, if you can, the joy of the last Christmas, the hope that you were looking for, and the delight that you may be experienced, as you found yourself listening and participating again in the Christmas story. Consider the times that have passed since then. Where or when might you have noticed "Emmanuel",God with us, since? Where or when have you felt the absence of God? What do you notice about your discoveries?
  • As we journey towards the Passion and Crucifixion where do you notice our faithful God now? What does the incarnation mean to you during Lent? 

Bible notes author

Margaret Sawyer

Margaret Sawyer has worked for the Methodist Connexional Team for ten years, first as connexional secretary for Women's Network and then as the Church's equality and diversity officer. She now works to support preaching and worship in her local circuit and district.