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Joseph And The Angel

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Scriptural Text: Matt. 1:18-25

Preaching Text: Matt. 1:20-23



In the New Testament there are eight divine announcements about the birth of Christ.  They are:

1.     To Zacharias Luke 1:17, 76
2.     To Mary Luke 1:31, 35
3.     To Elisabeth Luke 1:41-43
4.     To Joseph Matt. 1:20-21
5.     To the shepherds Luke 2:10-12
6.     To the wise men Matt. 2:1-2
7.     To Simeon Luke 2:25-32
8.     To Anna Luke 2:38


Thesis: To examine this Christmas three vital truths the angel announced to Joseph.

  1. Joseph’s Dilemma: Joseph was betrothed to Mary and he had learned that she was pregnant. In Matt. 1:18, we see the word betrothed.  It is a word we hardly use here in our present culture.  According Jewish custom, marriages were arranged by parents and contracts were negotiated.  Although the couple did not live together for at least 12 months, they were considered married and the betrothal was legally binding.  It was during this twelve months of waiting to physically consummate the marriage when Joseph learned that Mary was pregnant.

Joseph had two options: Have her stoned to death Deut. 22:22-24

If a man be found lying with a woman married to an husband, then they shall both of them die, both the man that lay with the woman, and the woman: so shalt thou put away evil from Israel. 23.  If a damsel that is a virgin be betrothed unto an husband, and a man find her in the city, and lie with her; 24.  Then ye shall bring them both out unto the gate of that city, and ye shall stone them with stones that they die; the damsel, because she cried not, being in the city; and the man, because he hath humbled his neighbour's wife: so thou shalt put away evil from among you.

Or he could divorce her according to Deut. 24:1

When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house.

  1. Joseph’s Decision – verse 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily

  1. The Angel’s Directive – verse 20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife…

After the angel directs Joseph to not divorce Mary, he then gives him a three-part announcement or annunciation related to the birth of Christ.

Thesis: To examine this Christmas three vital truths the angel announce to Joseph.


a.       His name – verse 21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS.  Jesus means Jehovah is Savior in Hebrew.  It is pronounced Yeshua or Joshua. This name is truly fitting because He came to save from sin.

  1. His purpose – To save

v. for he shall save his people from their sins.

Save is sozo in the Greek. There are 110 occurrences; AV translates as “save” 93 times, “make whole” nine times, “heal” three times, “be whole” twice, and translated miscellaneously three times.[2]

What does the word mean? In a natural sense it means the deliverance from danger, suffering, etc. Matt. 8:25 And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish

Mark 13:20 And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved: but for the elect's sake, whom he hath chosen, he hath shortened the days.

In a spiritual sense sozo means the granting of eternal salvation to those who immediately believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.

Acts. 2:47 And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

Eph. 2:5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

I Tim. 2:4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

Acts 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

Here the word means deliverance from sin.  This is Christ’s ultimate purpose – to deliver from sin - more specifically, the consequence of sin.

“The real problem is sin and guilt. That's the issue. God sent Jesus Christ to rescue us from the consequence of our sin, and everybody falls into the category of sinner. It doesn't matter whether you're among the haves or the have-nots, whether you have great expectations or none at all, whether you're consumed by your passions or exhibit a degree of self-control and discipline–you are still a sinner. You have broken the law of God and He's angry about it. Unless something happens to change your condition, you’re on your way to eternal hell. You need to be rescued from the consequences of your sin. Those are the principal issues the gospel solves.” (MacArthur)

So the basic idea of salvation, Greek, soteria is deliverance.

Sin is the harmartia in the Greek.  It literally means to miss the mark.  You can say it means to miss the mark of God’s moral law.  It means living beneath the holy standards of a holy God.

“Sin is any personal lack of conformity to the moral character of God, or the law of God. Then sin is a disposition of the heart. It is a bent. It thinks evil; it speaks evil; it acts evil and it omits good… four ways in which you sin. You sin by thinking evil, speaking evil, acting evil or omitting good. You sin when you do, when you say, when you think, or when you don't do, say, think what God demands you to. So it is commission, as you've often heard, or omission.” (Mac Arthur)


Can he save you from sin?




            His virgin birth was an essential part of God’s plan.

            v. 23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child.

This a direct quote from Isa. 7;14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

Incarnation means “in flesh.”  The virgin birth was the means whereby the incarnation took place.  It guaranteed the sinlessness of Christ.  He could not be stained with Adams sin.

The virgin birth guaranteed four things.

Jesus would be fully human

Jesus would not be Joseph’s son

Jesus would not be marred by sin

Jesus would be divine

Genesis 3:15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.


Remember Jesus is human just like you and me.  He is touched with the feeling of your infirmities.




            He is divine.  He is God.

v. 23 … and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

Jesus was born, but not created.  The Father begot him.  There is a difference in begetting and making.

To beget means to become the father of.  To create is to make. As C. S. Lewis wrote, “When you beget, you beget something of the same kind as yourself.  A man begets, human babies, a beaver begets little beavers… But when you make, you make something of a different kind from yourself…A bird makes a nest.”

A man makes a statue … it is not a real man; it only looks like one.

What God begets is God; just as what man begets is man.  What God create is not God; just as what man makes is not man.

Isa. 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, the everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

Jesus, Himself revealed that He is God.  Listen to Christ's own words.

John 8:58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.

Mark 2:5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee. 10 … the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins.

John 10:17,18 I lay down my life, that I might take it again. 18.  No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again .

John 14:6 I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

John 11:25 I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:

Jn 12:46 I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.

Matt. 11:28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.


Do you have His presence in your life?

Closing Illustration: On March 5, 1994, Deputy Sheriff Lloyd Prescott was teaching a class for police officers in the Salt Lake City Library. As he stepped into the hallway he noticed a gunman herding 18 hostages into the next room. With a flash of insight, Prescott (dressed in street clothes) joined the group as the nineteenth hostage, followed them into the room, and shut the door. But when the gunman announced the order in which hostages would be executed, Prescott identified himself. In the scuffle that followed, Prescott, in self-defense, fatally shot the armed man. The hostages were released unharmed. God dressed himself in street clothes and entered our world, joining us who are held hostage to sin. On the cross Jesus defeated Satan and set us free from the power of sin.

His presence gives us all an opportunity to know Him!




[1]Willmington, H. (1987). Willmington's book of Bible lists (164). Wheaton, IL: Tyndale.

AV Authorized Version

[2]Strong, J. (1996). The exhaustive concordance of the Bible : Showing every word of the text of the common English version of the canonical books, and every occurrence of each word in regular order. (electronic ed.) (G4982). Ontario: Woodside Bible Fellowship.

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