The Wonder of the Incarnation (Matthew 1:20) - Radical

The Wonder of the Incarnation (Matthew 1:20)

“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.'”
– Matthew 1:20

In this passage, you put yourself in Joseph’s shoes and you’re preparing to divorce your wife quietly because you know you’ve not yet consummated the marriage. She’s pregnant. You’re wondering, “Okay. How do we cover this up? I don’t want to embarrass her, but this is not good,” and then you receive this message from an angel of the Lord saying to you what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit, that this is quit literally a supernatural child. This is the mystery of the incarnation. He is fully divine, this baby, fully divine and fully human. That’s part of how the incarnation is a reality through this conception from the Holy Spirit.

The incarnation should compel us worship in awe that God has provided a way to reconcile us to Himself in Jesus.

Matthew 1:20 Teaches Us about the Incarnation of Jesus

Now, obviously, this is not, and when I talk with Muslim friends or go to different places in the world where I’m talking with people who are Muslim and they say, “Wait a minute. We don’t believe that God the Father and Mary got together and had a baby.” I say, “Well, I’m glad you don’t believe that because I don’t believe that either, and that’s not what the Bible teaches.”

What the Bible teaches is that God did a miraculous work in Mary’s womb by bringing about his Son into the world, God in the flesh. I don’t pretend to be able to explain all the mystery of the incarnation, but this is clearly what the Bible teaches, and it’s glorious because Jesus is fully human and fully God, he is uniquely able to represent us before God, to offer a sacrifice for our sins before God, and he’s uniquely able to bear the divine judgment, due sin on our behalf.

Matthew 1:20 Reminds Us No One is Like Jesus

As we walk through this Advent season and we think about Christmas, be really, really careful not to get caught up in obviously all the stuff that we surround Christmas with, but even in church and when we’re focusing on Jesus, we can get so focused on some of the miscellaneous details around the story we can miss the wonder of what is happening here. This is a baby born of woman by the power of the Holy Spirit, and this should cause us all to stand, to kneel in awe before him and to wonder at how God has made a way for sinful men and women like you and me to be reconciled to relationship with him.

We pray, Jesus, there is literally, physically, spiritually no one like you, perfect God and perfect man. God, we praise you for your design in the incarnation. For the mystery of the incarnation. For the reality of the incarnation, Jesus. That you are like us in every way except you are without sin and you are like God in every way. You are fully God. We praise you as the God-man, the Word made flesh. All these pictures we see in Scripture including this in Matthew 1 when it comes to be conceived by the Holy Spirit.

This Verse Praises Jesus

O Jesus, we praise you. We worship you. We glorify you. Lord, we pray that you would help us to know you more and more and more and more. We pray that you would help us to glorify you more and more and more and more. Oh, we pray that your Spirit now at work within us. O God, would empower us during these days. Especially around Christmas, to share this good news. We can’t explain every detail of the mystery. But we can tell people we know that God came to us to save us from our sins. God, may that message be on our mouths.

May that message be on our mouths constantly during these days. We pray that you would use to lead people to Jesus. Led to experience, in that sense, supernatural new birth in Jesus themselves. Receiving new hearts forgiven of sin. And being brought into relationship with you through faith in Jesus. God, we pray for the spread of this good news. That you’ve become man to save men, women from our sins. God, may this good news spread through us during this Christmas season especially. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

David Platt

David Platt serves as a pastor in metro Washington, D.C. He is the founder of Radical.

David received his Ph.D. from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and is the author of Don’t Hold Back, Radical, Follow MeCounter CultureSomething Needs to ChangeBefore You Vote, as well as the multiple volumes of the Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary series.

Along with his wife and children, he lives in the Washington, D.C. metro area.


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