The consequences of the birth of Jesus (Matthew 1:18-25)

What does Matthew want his readers to do after reading his brief account of the birth of Jesus? Obviously, he would want them to trust in Jesus and to marvel at the gracious plan of God that brought it all about. We can see how both these goals are repeated throughout his Gospel. After all, his Gospel is designed to make disciples, as can be deduced from the way that Matthew lays out his material. I would suggest two other consequences as well.

The first is that they should have great confidence in the Scriptures. Matthew cites the prophecy of Isaiah which predicted that the Saviour would be born of a virgin. No doubt, people before then would have wondered how it would be fulfilled, and perhaps many would have tried to have a non-literal fulfilment. Yet what the Lord had said came true and when the Messiah was born he was born according to the scriptures. Matthew will mention several such prophecies in his Gospel and each one of them calls on us to trust in the word of God.

The second is that a giant step had taken place in the purpose of God, which was that he would dwell with humans. This had been the original intention in the Garden of Eden, and had been confirmed on the way he dwelt in the Tabernacle and the Temple in Israel. We know that the ultimate fulfilment will be when the Lord dwells with people in the new heavens and new earth, and we have foretastes of it in the way that the Lord dwells with his people today. 

But there was something unique about the way God dwelt with people when Jesus was born and subsequently while he was living here. He was Immanuel, the one who later could say that anyone who had seen him had seen the Father. It is good to have the Lord with us personally, with us corporately, and then to be with us forever. 

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