"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 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.) ~ Matthew 1:20-23
Imagine Joseph finding out the young woman he was to marry was pregnant. Mary’s explanation must have seemed incredulous. I imagine their conversation going something like this.
Joseph: “Your pregnant!”
Mary: “Yes, but let me explain. An angel came and told me I was going to give birth to baby boy who would do something great. I didn’t know how it would happen, but he told me the Holy Spirit would overshadow me and I would conceive and give birth to the Son of God.”
Joseph: “Yeah… okay. Well, I’m not sure how this is going to work out any more.”
Mary: “Joseph, I promise. This child that is in me really is from God. You have to believe me.”
Needless to say, Joseph found Mary’s story hard to believe, but being a good man, he was going to break off the engagement secretly to spare Mary the shame.
It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to know that Joseph was confused and hurt. It was at this point that an angel of the Lord appeared and changed everything. To Joseph’s utter surprise, all that Mary said was confirmed. The child really was from the Holy Spirit. All of this was to fulfill the prophecy of Isaiah 7:14 that a virgin would give birth to Immanuel, which means God with us. This child was God coming to be with us.
God dwelling among his people is the climactic and greatest blessing in the Old Testament (Exodus 29:46, Leviticus 26:11-12). However, man’s sin and rebellion had hindered this great blessing, but now God was about to act unilaterally and take care of the problem once and for all!
Here’s what God was going to do. The angel said, “You shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” The name Jesus means “Jehovah is salvation” and the salvation of Jehovah is one of being saved from our sins! And remember it is our sins that keep us from God and keeps God from us.
Now imagine Joseph, no longer confused but in awe of what God was doing. God was coming down, not just to visit, but to be with us. Permanently. Do you know Immanuel? You can. He’s done everything. All you do is receive him like the most precious gift. Which is exactly what he is!