Day 2 - Ash Wednesday

Day 2 - Ash Wednesday

March 2nd, 2022
Written By: Joy Hardin

Matthew 1:18-23, NLT
18 This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. 19 Joseph, to whom she was engaged, was a righteous man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly.
20 As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord’s message through his prophet: 23 “Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’”

The story Matthew presents of Jesus’ birth gives us a clear account of the events as they happened, as well as a behind the scenes look at how God was working to bring it all together. Matthew shows us how God guided Joseph, Wise Men, and even Old Testament prophets to protect, provide for, and to prove that Jesus truly was His Son. If played out on a movie screen, we’d see an action adventure film with the main characters dashing around Palestine, a middle of the night flight into Egypt, and a re-directed return to the land of Israel; while the minor characters rush in with great treasures from the east and tiptoe quietly back to their homelands. (Read Matthew chapter 2.)

Throughout these first two chapters Matthew cites five Old Testament prophecies that Jesus’ birth fulfilled, proving irrefutably that He is the Son of God and promised Messiah. God wanted the world to know without any doubt that this was His Son and our Savior. The purpose in the given genealogy is to show that, through Joseph’s line, Jesus had the right to the throne of David. As this list of Jesus’ ancestors comes to a close, it states that “Joseph [was] the husband of Mary” (Mt. 1:16), clearly letting us know that Joseph was not the biological father of Jesus. God the Father is indisputably claiming Jesus as His own Son.

Most of us have the privilege of waiting for the birth of our children for nine months. We wait with excitement. We look at lists of baby names and choose one with a special meaning. We tell our family and friends, have baby showers, and gender reveal celebrations. Finally, our little one arrives and we are ecstatic with love and joy, so we send out birth announcements.

Imagine if you had to wait four thousand years. That’s what God did. As he waited, God spoke through his prophets and told everyone that his Son would be arriving, and he included many details, which only Jesus fulfilled. Along the way God had his own gender reveal: “Behold, the virgin will conceive and give birth to a Son,” and as the Father he picked out a name with a special meaning: “Name Him Immanuel, which translated means, ‘God with us’” (Mt. 1:23, NASB). Finally, God sent out birth announcements “We saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him” (Mt. 2:2, NASB). (See also Luke 2:8-14.)
Throughout the first two chapters of Matthew, we see God’s protection and provision for his Son. God gave Jesus a righteous earthly father, who was attentive to God’s direction and thus protected the Baby from Herod and later Herod’s son. Repeatedly we see that the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in dreams (Mt. 1:20, 2:13, 2:19, and 2:22). Every time God told Joseph to do something, he obeyed without hesitation.

God also sent the wise men who not only worshiped Jesus; they gave him gifts, which would provide this poor family with the funds to travel to Egypt for safety.

God’s provision is also for us. “She will give birth to a Son; and you shall name Him Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” (NASB) Not just anyone could die for our sins. It had to be God’s sinless Son.

Just as Matthew revealed the provision and protection God supplied for his Son, we can take comfort in knowing that He is always there protecting and providing for us.

Each time God directed Joseph, he acted immediately. Joseph was attentive to the Lord and ready and willing to obey. How attentive are you to God? Read through Matthew chapters 1 and 2. Note how many times God revealed His plan to those who were willing to follow it. What are you asking the Lord for right now? Do you need his protection or provision? Are you willing to obey as Joseph did no matter what God asks you to do? Take a few minutes and write out all you want God to do in your life over the next few weeks, and be sure to put this where you can look back and see all that God has done.

Father, as you have protected and provided for your Son, I know you will do the same for me. Help me to trust you more. Even though I don’t see you, I know you are always working for my good. (Read John 5:17 and Romans 8:28.)