God's Plan of Redemption
Text: Matthew 1:18 -25
God had a great plan of redemption for Israel – and for the world! His plans were first revealed to His servants, the prophets. Their messages in time became inscripturated for posterity’s sake.
The theme of God sending the Messiah to redeem His people was one that was touched upon by almost all the writing prophets! Each prophet contributed an aspect or two concerning the Promised Messiah. Taken as a whole, the doctrine of the Promised Messiah-Redeemer in time became a great source of hope and comfort to the nation of Israel.
Of great significance to Israel was the hope that this Messiah would also be their King! This hope of a Messianic King as the Redeemer of Israel was passed from one generation to another. Along the way, misconceptions crept in. However the thought of a Messianic King became a national symbol of hope for ancient Israel.
FITTING INTO GOD’S PLAN
When the angel of the Lord spoke to Joseph, he addressed him in a special way. He said,
“Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to
take to you Mary your wife…”
Joseph was addressed as “son of David”. The usual term of address should have been, “Joseph son of Jacob” (Cf. Matthew 1:15-16). Jacob was the father of Joseph! The reason why the angel of the Lord addressed Joseph as “son of David” is obvious when we study the context of God sending Jesus as the promised Messiah-King.
Jesus had to come from the line of David in order to fulfill prophecy. Joseph was to be the legal guardian of Jesus, even if he was not the biological father! Joseph, the legal father through marriage, would give legal status to Jesus as “Son of David”.
A further explanation of God’s plan of redemption was revealed to Joseph by the angel of the Lord.
“And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall
call His name JESUS, for He will save His
people from their sins.”
What a tremendous revelation that was! The Son to be born from Mary was destined to be the One who would save “His people from their sins”. His Name would take on special meaning, even though Jesus (or “Joshua”) was an ordinary enough name in Israel.
Would Joseph fit into God’s plan of redemption for Israel? Would he happily fit into God’s gracious plan of redemption?
There was full obedience on Joseph’s part. Let us take time to ponder how he could have come to this decision to be so fully compliant. May our hearts be challenged to cultivate these good qualities we see in Joseph.
1. “A just man” Matthew 1:19
Matthew had not described Joseph more correctly. Being the man that he was enabled Joseph to evaluate Mary’s pregnancy objectively and spiritually. He was both fair-minded and noble-minded as well. This fact would have contributed significantly to his decision to obey the word of advice from the angel of the Lord.
2. His understanding and faith in the Messianic Hope of Israel
Deep within the heart of those who loved the nation of Israel was a Messianic Hope. God had spoken through His prophets again and again. Yes, there were those who had scoffed at the idea of a Messianic Hope, but there were those for whom the Promise of a Messiah was valid and true. Joseph was one of those who belonged to the latter group.
3. The Word of the Angel of the Lord
What must have contributed significantly would have been the word of the angel of the Lord. Whether an angel spoke to him personally, or through a dream, there was no mistaking the power exerted by an angelic being! The ministry of this angel of the Lord must have convinced Joseph that God had a great plan for the redemption of Israel, and he was to be part of that great plan! What a thrill it must be to be part of that great plan of God!
4. His love for Mary
Joseph must have loved Mary enough to trust that she would not get involved in something that was wrong. The character of Mary had been good and clean. There was no need to believe otherwise, especially now that there was a word from the angel of the Lord that the Baby in Mary was none other than the Messiah Himself!
5. His fortitude and courage
Joseph must have had immense courage and fortitude of spirit to hold his head up high and to go ahead with his marriage plans.
All these factors, and perhaps more besides these enabled Joseph to obey God fully. Matthew commented with great satisfaction the course of action that Joseph took.
“Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did
as the angel of the Lord commanded him and
took to him his wife, and did not know her till
she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And
he called His Name JESUS.”