Sunday, December 8, 2013

Advent Day 8: Immanuel/God With Us

- Since Mary was pledged to be married (betrothed) to Joseph and found to be pregnant (through the Holy Spirit) before they got married/had physical union, Joseph seemed to be faced with 2 options: having her stoned to death or divorcing her. Being an honorable & considerate man (he "did not want to expose her to public disgrace"), he decided to divorce her quietly. Surprise! God had the third option in mind--"take Mary home as your wife" (marry her)!
- Apparently, Mary did not try to explain her situation to Joseph but chose to trust God to take care of it. Even if she did, would Joseph have believed her, anyway, without any divine authentication? Most likely not.
- Jesus = Jehovah saves--His Name points to the purpose of His coming, to save people from their sins.
- The prophecy of Isaiah 7:14 ("Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a Son, and will call Him Immanuel.") was fulfilled by the miraculous conception and birth of Jesus Christ.
- The virgin birth of Jesus is extremely important because God's Son had to be free from the sinful nature passed on to all other human beings by Adam. He was born without any trace of human sin.
- Immanuel = God with Us! "The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us." (John 1:14a) He is also the omnipresent God Who never leaves us nor forsakes us.
- Can you imagine how scandalous this whole thing looked to others? Nevertheless, Joseph chose to obey the angel of the Lord's command to take Mary home as his wife. He chose to do what's right (in God's eyes) rather than being afraid of what others might think.
- Caesar Augustus's census decree went out in God's perfect timing and according to God's perfect plan to bring His Son into the world. This was to fulfill the prophecy in Micah 5:2, "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for Me One Who will be Ruler over Israel, whose origins are of old, from ancient times."
- "There was no guest room available for them" after their trying journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem (about 80 miles)--When we do God's will, we're not guaranteed a comfortable, difficulty-free life!

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