But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”)

Matthew 1:20-23

Rather than cover the well-trodden ground of Jesus as Savior, Messiah & so on (feels almost blasphemy to say this). I thought I would just take this moment to remark on a feature of Matthew’s gospel that receives greater emphasis than say Mark, Luke or John. That being, Jesus as the fulfilment of the Old Testament promises.

Here, Matthew reminds us that Jesus’ arrival and His birth by virgin womb was in fulfilment of God’s words through the Prophet Isaiah (see Isaiah 7-10) some 700-800 years before His birth.

Two things to see here. Firstly, the less obvious. Verse 22-23 isn’t coming out of the mouth of Mary or an Angel of the Lord. It’s Matthew, narrating the story as he goes. But this shouldn’t be taken as one man’s theory or interpretation. 

Instead, just as Peter does in his sermon in Acts 2, Matthew draws out what others may have taken longer to notice. Rather than inventing a ghost in the photo, Matthew is pointing out the reflection in the water for what it is. This reminds us that Matthew isn’t simply recording the life of Jesus, but helping us understand what His words and actions imply.

Secondly, the more obvious. Nostradamus, the French ‘seer’, predicted that the world would end in 1999. Suffice to say, it didn’t. What Matthew draws out more than any other gospel writer is the quantity of Old Testament prophecy and pattern that Jesus fulfils. 12 times Matthew will use the language - this was to fulfil (or equivalent).

It’s a reminder that we are not dealing here with star signs or tarot cards. But with the living, eternal, all-knowing God, who has history in His hands and has come to us in the person of Jesus Christ, the Messiah, Emmanuel - God with us.

For Today:
  • Have you ever read Matthew’s gospel?
  • What amazes you about Jesus’ birth?
  • Reflect on Jesus’ fulfilment of Old Testament prophecies.

  • Praise the Father that He is all-knowing.
  • Give thanks for Jesus who is God with us.
  • Ask God for His Holy Spirit to help you and others see Jesus for who He is.
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