Sunday 18 December 2016

Bible Book:

“She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (v. 21)

Matthew 1:18-25 Sunday 18 December 2016

Psalm: Psalm 80


Matthew's Gospel starts by setting out Jesus' ancestry (Matthew 1:1-17). This establishes Jesus' placein the whole rhythm of God's saving work and, more particularly, inthe line of David. In today's passage we discover how this uniquebirth comes about, with the stress that it is in line with the hopeand expectation to be found in the Hebrew Scriptures.

Key to the fulfillment of God's promises is Joseph. It is worthtrying to imagine Joseph's feelings on discovering that his youngfiancée is, in fact, pregnant. Within what might have been amixture of shame, anger, suspicion and disappointment henevertheless seeks to protect Mary and her family as best he can byinitiating a quiet divorce.

For Joseph to follow through on what he believed to be God'sword to him was even more demanding. The community will know thatMary is pregnant as they marry, so Joseph's integrity will becalled into question. What is more he can hardly defend himself byrecounting the angel's explanation of what God was doing! Some ofthe questions he had when first learning of Mary's pregnancy maynot have gone away and yet he remains obedient.

Thus, with faithful, humble people who can hardly comprehendwhat God is doing, yet seek to obey, the age of fulfillment dawns.Jesus, the Saviour, who is Immanuel, God with us, 'God divinelyhuman' is born.

To Ponder

  • Jewish hope and expectation was that the Messiah would comefrom the line of David. God works within that understanding.Reflect on times when you experienced God working as you expected,and also times when God worked in ways you didn't expect. Whatinsights do you uncover?
  • Joseph moves from the initial shock of learning about Mary'spregnancy to humble, and risky, obedience by way of a dream. Whathelps you to discern God's will?
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