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Matthew 1:18-25

Matthew 1:18-25


1. This story happens in the context of fear of infidelity (breach of trust), potential divorce, and public shame of worst kind (explain Matthew 1:18-25)

(a) God was behind Joseph’s predicament

(b) In the midst of Joseph’s predicament, God was working out solution for the human sinfulness (it’s a Trinitarian passage) Not all predicaments are bad

(b1) The Father sends the Angel to Joseph
(b2) The Son comes to the world
(b3) The Holy Spirit makes Jesus’ be conceived in Mary’s womb

2. The Angel of God unfolds God’s plan to Joseph (1:20-22)

3. The purpose of Jesus’ coming to this world is to save “His” people from “their sins” (1:22; cf. Psalm 130:8 He Himself will redeem Israel from all their sins)

(a) The word “save” presupposes “someone in danger or in helpless situation” [the word “He” is in emphatic position]

(b) There is a veiled comparison between Joseph and Ahaz of Judah

(b1) Ahaz and Judah were surrounded by their enemies, Peka of Israel and Rezin of Syria (cf. Isaiah 7:4-6)
(b2) In the same way, Joseph was gripped with sense of betrayal and an imminent divorce (1:18-19)
(b3) Ahaz of Judah did not listen to God, but Joseph listened and obeyed
(b4) God promised to be “Immanuel” to both Ahaz and Joseph
(b5) Ahaz rejected, but Joseph believed and “Immanuel” was available to him
(b6) Thus, Joseph becomes a model to Christian righteousness

4. Observations of the character of Joseph from Matthew 1:18-25

(a) Although Joseph was apparently wronged, he did not react in anger but he was looking for a way to protect Mary (1:18-19)

(a1) A precursor to Christian righteousness (a new type of righteousness is introduced here which is characterized by “obedience”)
(a2) Joseph teaches how Christians react when they face challenges in life

(b) Before he decided the future of his betrothal, he spends a significant amount of time probably in prayer (verse 20a)

(b1) Reaction is more important than action
(b2) He does not take a decision emotionally

(c) Joseph had learned to listen to God (three other times)

(d) Joseph obeyed despite several inconveniences (a pregnant wife, bad name, etc.)

(e) Joseph partnered with God in bringing the gift of Jesus to the world

5. Take Away

(a) Do not be like Ahaz, but before every major decision spend considerable amount of time like Joseph

(b) Partner with God in bringing the gift of Jesus to your family, friends, and community

Speaker: William J. Subash

Born and raised in south India, William J. Subash became a follower of Jesus Christ in 1983 at the age of nineteen. After a brief career in a tea and coffee plantation, Subash decided to spend rest of his life to preach about Jesus and his life-transforming message of God, which is popularly known as “the Gospel.” Subash teaches New Testament Studies at two institutions: SAIACS in India and Liberty University Online, VA, USA. Currently, Subash serves as the chief point person for GROW Gospel Initiatives and the Lead Pastor of the Crossroad Church, Bangalore. Write to him at