Who Is Jesus Christ?
Read Matthew 1:18-25 (ESV)
Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband, Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All of this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.
What do we learn about who Jesus is in this passage?
Who is Jesus Christ? It is a question that thoughtful people have wrestled with throughout history. Was He just a wise and good teacher or was He more than that? Is He long dead or is He still alive somehow? Is He who He said He was and who did He claim to be anyway? Even secular scholars admit that Jesus left far more than just a ripple in history. He completely changed the world! Our calendars and historical timelines revolve around the events of His life. He is the inspiration for numerous pieces of classic art and music. The Bible is His holy book and it is estimated that about 5 billion Bibles have been sold. Christians around the world are still willing to live and die for Him, 2,000 years later.
Who is Jesus Christ? That is the focus of our next series here at Back to the Bible. Today’s passage gives us several details about who Jesus was. First, we see that He is the son of a woman named Mary who was betrothed to a man named Joseph. At that time, betrothal was not like an engagement today. It was a legal commitment to each other. For that reason, if a man no longer wanted to marry the woman he was betrothed to, he had to divorce her even though they weren’t officially married or living together yet. A betrothed woman could also be found guilty of adultery.
When Joseph found out that Mary was pregnant, he logically assumed that she had been unfaithful to him. Matthew pointed out that Joseph was a “just” man. He carefully obeyed the Jewish laws and therefore he could not marry her. But he was also a compassionate man and didn’t want to drag her name through the mud or create a public spectacle, so he made up his mind that he was just going to divorce her quietly. That is until an angel appeared in his dreams and told him not to be afraid to take Mary as his wife.
It is significant that the angel calls Joseph “Son of David.” If we back up and read the genealogy listed at the beginning of Matthew 1, we see that Joseph is a descendant of King David. It was prophesied that the Messiah would come from the line of David. Jesus was Joseph's legal heir and thus, a descendant of the house of David. Jesus meets the prophesied criteria that the Messiah must be born from the line of David.
But as the angel continues, we learn something even more significant. We learn that Jesus was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit. That means that God is His Father. It also means that Mary wasn’t unfaithful after all. She was a virgin. This fulfills another prophecy found in Isaiah 7:14: “...Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” The name Immanuel means “God with us.” This name, coupled with the fact that Jesus is the Son of God, emphasizes that Jesus is God in the flesh.
We learn one more important detail about Jesus in today’s verses. The angel commanded Joseph to name the baby “Jesus” which means “Savior” and the angel confirmed this by stating that He “will save his people from their sins.”
In this short passage, we learn a lot about Jesus. We learn that His earthly father, Joseph, was just, compassionate, and obedient to the Lord. We learn that His genealogy fulfills the prophecies that He would be born from the line of David. We learn that He is the Son of God and that He is “Immanuel, God with Us.” And we learn the purpose for His birth—to save us from our sins. Friends, it is no mystery who Jesus is. He wasn't merely a good man or a good teacher. He is God in flesh and He is the prophesied Messiah.
Jesus, I believe that You are God in the flesh and You are the Messiah that was prophesied about in the Old Testament Scriptures. Thank You for coming to earth as a baby to be God with us and to save us from our sins. Amen.