Great Expectations 2

Today David continued our Advent series, looking at the miracle of God becoming physically present with us in Matthew 1 v 18-25. In this passage David highlights three points to reflect upon.

1.  Joseph’s Reaction

Joseph’s reaction to learning that his wife-to-be is pregnant, and it’s not his child she’s carrying, is staggering. Despite what we would expect, Joseph doesn’t react in anger or accusation, rather in an immediate desire to do the right and compassionate thing.

BECAUSE JOSEPH HER HUSBAND WAS FAITHFUL TO THE LAW, AND YET DID NOT WANT TO EXPOSE HER TO PUBLIC DISGRACE, HE HAD IN MIND TO DIVORCE HER QUIETLY.

The law stated that you needed to divorce in cases of unfaithfulness, and that the offending partner should be called out. However, Joseph wanted to protect Mary from public ridicule and shame. He had righteous compassion in the face of what he thought was a blatant sin against him. This raises a challenge to us: when faced with difficult circumstances, do we seek to be righteous and compassionate? Or do we react in accordance with our current feelings? In a culture in which the emphasis is often on fulfilling personal feelings and rights, can we follow Joseph’s example in standing out for doing the compassionate and righteous thing?

However, soon Joseph learns the reality of what has happened when the angel appears to him in a dream. Despite the exceptional news that what is conceived in Mary is from the Holy Spirit, Joseph doesn’t question it, but instead appears to accept it in total and unwavering surrender to God. Are we prepared to accept God’s Word in our lives in whatever He calls us to?

Joseph provides a challenging example to learn from; however, the primary focus of this passage is on the One they would bring into this world: Jesus, who fulfils every great expectation.

2.  Jesus – ‘God Saves’

“SHE WILL BEAR A SON, AND YOU SHALL CALL HIS NAME JESUS, FOR HE WILL SAVE HIS PEOPLE FROM THEIR SINS.”

Jesus is the Saviour of the world; His very name means ‘God saves’. This is something that we can often skim over, but can I encourage you to take a moment to reflect on what this actually means? Jesus is the Saviour who rescues and liberates us from the very thing that has ruined our lives. He delivers us from our sin that causes so much pain and destruction. He not only delivers us from sin, but to a restored relationship with our Creator. As we revisit the story of the first Christmas this Advent, let’s not lose sight of the real reason for celebration, that Jesus our Saviour is born.

3.  Immanuel – God with us

“THE VIRGIN WILL CONCEIVE AND GIVE BIRTH TO A SON, AND THEY WILL CALL HIM IMMANUEL, WHICH MEANS ‘GOD WITH US’.”

Jesus is fully God and fully man – God with us. This means that God fully identifies with and understands us. Though He had every right to, God did not remain in the security of heaven, but He stepped down into our darkness, and experienced the misery, temptations and pain of this world. The writer of Hebrews so powerfully reminds us of this saying,

“FOR WE DO NOT HAVE A HIGH PRIEST WHO IS UNABLE TO FEEL SYMPATHY FOR OUR WEAKNESSES, BUT WE HAVE ONE WHO HAS BEEN TEMPTED IN EVERY WAY, JUST AS WE ARE.”

Let this Christmas be a reminder that God is not distant. He understands how you feel today and what you are going through. This is a key part of what it means to say, ‘God with us’. This is a truth, not just for the first Christmas, but one that stands the test of time. Matthew’s gospel finishes by reaffirming this truth:

“AND BE SURE OF THIS: I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS, EVEN TO THE END OF AGE.”

This is the miracle of Christmas. Christmas in three words: GOD WITH US.

Reflect
Reflect on Immanuel, ‘God with us’, as you listen to ‘Here I am to worship’: https://youtu.be/Aa9FIUHKIWQ?si=vwUq1050lcXtWhKi

Amy Warke

Amy Warke

Hi, I’m Amy and I’m part of the Deep Dive team at Windsor. I’ve been going to Windsor my whole life. I’m currently studying Medicine at Queen’s and when I’m not doing that, you’ll find me in a coffee shop with a good book, or out for a run, trying not to get lost!
Amy Warke
Hi, I’m Amy and I’m part of the Deep Dive team at Windsor. I’ve been going to Windsor my whole life. I’m currently studying Medicine at Queen’s and when I’m not doing that, you’ll find me in a coffee shop with a good book, or out for a run, trying not to get lost!