The Righteous One

Sermon from Matthew 1:18-25

We may not often think about it, but Jesus was a crisis pregnancy. Think about how it happened for Joseph. Mary’s news of her pregnancy was a huge shock for Joseph, and a major crisis.

Joseph was a righteous man, well trained in the Law of Moses and the Jewish tradition. He knew what the Law said about adultery, and what it said should be done in a case like Mary’s. He was supposed to expose her shame publicly. But as he contemplated this, he didn’t want to do that to her, probably because he loved her. Instead, he wanted to send her away quietly.

But then suddenly, he was visited by an angel, affirming Mary’s story, and now Joseph is faced with a second crisis. Is he going to believe this outlandish story?

The challenge is that, when confronted by something like this, we have to ask ourselves this question: Am I going to believe God or not?

The angel instructed Joseph to name the baby Jesus, which means “Yahweh [God] saves.” Then the angel clarified that the baby Himself was going to be the one to save His people from their sins. And the angel added that this baby was the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy of the virgin birth. So the angel told Joseph plainly that Mary’s child was the promised Messiah, God in the flesh.

Matthew 1:24 tells us that Joseph, faced with this unimaginable reality, accepted what the angel said as truth, believed God, and obeyed what he was told to do.

In Romans 3, Paul says that there is no one who is righteous, no not one. In addition to being our story, this is also the story of Israel. No matter how hard God’s people tried to follow the Law, they still failed. They still sinned and disobeyed.

No matter how many were righteous, who did good things, none of them were perfect. Everyone needs a Savior, and that’s why God sent Jesus. He was the only One who was perfect, who never sinned, who never deserved any shame. He was born to bear OUR shame instead.

He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

2 Corinthians 5:21

One of the greatest gifts that was ever given to this world came in the form of a baby: “Immanuel, God with us.” Like Joseph, many of us don’t know how to react to this incredible story. Like Joseph, let’s choose to believe God and obey what He says.