(6) FEAR NOT — THE BIRTH OF THE SAVIOR

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: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. ~ Matthew 1:20 KJV

There are two very notable Josephs in the Bible. One in the book of Genesis where in which genesis means the origin or coming into being of something according to the (click on) Merriam-Webster Dictionary. The other is right at the beginning of the New Testament, and it is the very first book — Matthew. Indeed, there are only two of the four Gospels that report the full detail of the one and only event of the birth of Jesus Christ — Matthew and Luke.

Yet, let us go into the miraculous birth story of Jesus Christ, and the role that His earthly father had to play in the nativity story. Maybe one thinks they know the birth story of Jesus Christ, and intellectually, perhaps one does. However, the key is to make it personal. How does one do that? Try and picture yourself in the narrative as I try to bring another aspect out — the role that Jesus Christ’s earthly father (Joseph) had to play as we delve into the birth story of Jesus Christ and His earthly parents — Joseph and Mary.

For, there are the Gospels of Matthew and Luke that primarily detail the whole miraculous birth of Jesus. However, let us stick with Matthew since that is where the angel spoke to Joseph in a dream to “Fear not.” Just like Chronicles in the middle the the Old Testament, Matthew starts out with the generations leading up to Jesus Christ. Back in Biblical days, the father was the one who determined the bloodline, not like today as women’s “rights” have made it to the forefront here in America, where the women get to decide if “her” baby is going to take the last name of the father. Actually, I was overcome with the paternalistic nature throughout the whole Bible when I was younger until I realized more fully that this is the Word of God who doesn’t change but, rather, puts the desire in our hearts to shift from the flesh to the spirit.

Early on in the genealogy, Matthew states that Jacob begat Judas, yet there was no Judas born to Jacob (Israel). This presents a problem. However, one has to go back to the original manuscripts where the manuscripts uses a variety of languages over 2000 years. In fact, Hebrew was the main language during Moses’ time, whereas Aramaic was the main language used in the Gospels, therefore Judas in Aramaic is the same as Judah in Hebrew. Surely, there are others in the line of descendants listed in Jesus Christ’s genealogical line. Yet, each person listed, despite their name change, due to transliteration, are in the line of 42 descendants.

Yet, the birth of the Holy One wasn’t so holy as we would consider holiness. Before that, however, Joseph was already engaged to be married to (click on) Mary who, at the time, was a teenager.

Coming from GotQuestions.org pertaining to the issue of the birth of Jesus Christ, it says that:

“We are never told the age of (click on) Joseph or Mary. Many assume that the (click on) virgin Mary was a teenager because that was the age that young women often got married at that time. The assumption, based on practices at the time, is that Joseph would have been older than Mary, but how much older is unknown. The fact that Joseph’s parents are never mentioned in conjunction with the marriage arrangements might indicate that he is older and no longer under his parent’s authority. However, Mary’s parents are never mentioned, either, yet many still assume that Mary was a teenager when Jesus was born.”

(click on) TableTalk.com addresses this issue over “The Controversial Birth of Jesus” by R.C. Sproul, this article puts the belief on the one who reads it or hears it. So let’s take a look at what the article says:

The records of Jesus’ life and ministry cause controversy from the very start. The extraordinary narrative of the circumstances surrounding His conception and birth provokes howls of protest from the critics of supernaturalism. They must begin their work of demythologizing early, wielding scissors on the first page of the New Testament. Following Matthew’s table of genealogy, the first paragraph of the first Gospel reads as follows: “Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit” (*click on: Matt. 1:18).

Though the New Testament is replete with miracles surrounding the person of Jesus, none seems more offensive to modern man than the virgin birth. If any law of science is established as immutable and unbreakable, it is that human reproduction is not possible without the conjoining of the male seed and the female egg. We may have developed sophisticated methods of artificial insemination and “test-tube” intrauterine implantations, but in some manner the reproduction process requires the contribution of both genders of the race to succeed.

Thus, the birth of Jesus violates the inviolable; it mutates the immutable; it breaks the unbreakable. It is alleged to be an act that is pure and simple contra naturam. Before we even read of the activities of Jesus’ life, we are thrust headfirst against this claim. Many skeptics close the door on further investigation after reading the first page of the record. The story sounds too much like magic, too much like the sort of myth and legend that tends to grow up around the portraits of famous people.

The arguments against the virgin birth are many. They range from the charge of borrowing mythical baggage from the Greek-speaking world, with parallels evident in pagan mythology . . . , to the scientific disclaimer that the virgin birth represents an empirically unverifiable unique event that denies all probability quotients. Some have offered a desperate exegetical argument trying to show that the New Testament doesn’t teach the idea of virgin birth. This we call the exegesis of despair.

The real problem is that of miracle. It doesn’t stop with the birth of Jesus but follows Him through His life, ministry, death, resurrection, and ascension. The life of Jesus carries the aura of miracle wherever it is described in the primary sources. A “de-miraclized” Jesus is not the biblical Jesus, but the invention of those who cannot abide the biblical proclamation. Such a Jesus is the Jesus of unbelief, the most mythical Jesus of all, conjured up to fit the preconceived molds of unbelief.

Though the New Testament is replete with miracles surrounding the person of Jesus, none seems more offensive to modern man than the virgin birth.

Behind the problem of miracle are certain assumptions about the reality of God the Creator. Matthew’s infancy narrative raises questions not only about parthenogenesis but about genesis itself. Creation is the unique event to beat all unique events. It’s not so amazing that a God who has the power to bring the universe into being from nothing (ex nihilo)—without preexistent matter to work with, without means, but by the sheer omnipotent power of His voice—can also produce the birth of a baby by supernaturally fertilizing a material egg in a woman’s womb. What defies logic is that a host of theologians grant the former but deny the latter. They allow the supernatural birth of the whole but deny the possibility of the part. We have to ask the painful question: Do they really believe in God in the first place, or is espoused belief in the Creator merely a societal convention, a veil to a more fundamental unbelief?

This writing by Dr. R. C. Sproul is intelligent since he writes with human intellect as he was quite intelligent. By the grace of God, God’s Word is simple (* click on: 1 Corinthians 2:1-5) for all people to understand His Word, both Jew and Gentile. Yet, isn’t the evidence certain? According to (click on) The Conversation .com, Robyn J. Whitaker tells us “What history really tells us about the birth of Jesus”? It states:

I might be about to ruin your Christmas. Sorry. But the reality is those nativity plays in which your adorable children wear tinsel and angel wings bear little resemblance to what actually happened.

Neither does your average Christmas card featuring a peaceful nativity scene. These are traditions, compilations of different accounts that reflect a later Christian piety. So what really happened at that so-called “first Christmas”?

Firstly, the actual birth day of Jesus was not December 25. The date we celebrate was adopted by the Christian church as the birthday of Christ in the fourth century. Prior to this period, different Christians celebrated Christmas on different dates.

Contrary to popular belief that Christians simply adapted a pagan festival, (*click on) historian Andrew McGowan argues the date had more to do with Jesus’s crucifixion in the minds of ancient theologians. For them, linking Jesus’s conception with his death nine months prior to December 25 was important for underscoring salvation.

Then concerning the “Inn,” Robyn J. Whitaker has to say:

Only two of the four gospels in the Bible discuss Jesus’s birth. Luke recounts the story of the angel Gabriel appearing to Mary, the couple’s journey to Bethlehem because of a census and the visit of the shepherds. It features Mary’s famous song of praise (Magnificat), her visit to her cousin Elizabeth, her own reflection on the events, lots of angels and the famous inn with no room.

The matter of the inn with “no room” is one of the most historically misunderstood aspects of the Christmas story. ACU scholar Stephen Carlson writes that the word “kataluma” (often translated “inn”) refers to guest quarters. Most likely, Joseph and Mary stayed with family but the guest room was too small for childbirth and hence Mary gave birth in the main room of the house where animal mangers could also be found.

Hence (*click on) Luke 2:7 could be translated “she gave birth to her firstborn son, she swaddled him and laid him in the feeding trough because there was no space for them in their guest room.”

Well, I don’t know about that piece regarding the inn. Yet, I have barely addressed what Joseph had to “Fear not” over. Obviously, Joseph’s dream was one of concern since the angel of the Lord told him that his bride, Mary, was pregnant by the Holy Ghost. This could have not been easy, just think about it. If he was going to marry her, he was facing public humiliation since, in the public’s eyes Mary played the whore around the time she had the chance to even meet Joseph.

Traditional customs for Jewish marriage in Israel are different than those practiced in the United States due to cultural variations. However, if Joseph were to deny that he had this dream the night before he pondered “these things,” he could have blamed the incident on something he had last night during his week long celebration of their marriage. Yet, he didn’t. Rather, he stood up to the cause, and he didn’t have sexual relations with Marry until about a month after little Jesus was born. For men, sex is one of the driving forces, which says something about Joseph’s character. He was a man of integrity since he was sensitive to God’s guidance.

The book of Matthew says that Joseph pondered these things. One will notice that in Matthew 1:19, Joseph was Mary’s husband before he knew Mary was pregnant. Mary probably didn’t tell him because she knew what it would look like, yet she couldn’t have hid the pregnancy of the Holy One to much longer. This, however, is another aspect the Jesus Christ’s pregnancy that we don’t know for sure since the Bible does not address this issue. But, really if we knew about the deeper issues that were going on in Christ’s pregnancy, would it make a difference? I contend, “No.” On issues like this, I believe the God has chosen not to tell His believers since it is another opportunity for faith, for “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” – Hebrews 11:1 (KJV).

True Life Christians, all around the world especially those of us suffering daily persecution, take solace in this Hebrews 11:1 since they’ll do anything (except sin) to protect the name of Jesus Christ. Take a look at(*click on) China’s Christian Persecution.

To escape persecution one may ask, “Jesus is all-forgiving, right? So why can’t one comply with what the persecutors are asking, then once one gets released, then ask forgiveness of God? It seems like a much more pleasant experience.”

That would give little honor to the words Jesus states in (*click on) Luke 9:23:

“And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.”

Or the Apostle Peter, in which he writes:

“For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:” ~ 1 Peter 2:21

When Jesus, in His human body, faced the temptations in the wilderness, both satan and Jesus knew the Scripture. The second temptation is when the devil let it all out: “For it is written, He should give His angels charge concerning Thee: and in their hands they shall bear Thee up, lest at any time Thou dash Thy foot against a stone” (click on* Matthew 4:6; click on* Psalm 91:11-12). Satan thought that he had Jesus.

Hallelujah! Jesus responded to the supreme devil, “. . . It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord Thy God” (click on* Matthew 4:7; click on* Deuteronomy 6:16)! However, there are many who believe that the wilderness experience only happened once in which it is recorded that Satan tempted Jesus three times, yet one can go back as early as the book of Job and find out that satan tempted Christ earlier (click on* Job 1:9-12; click on* Job 2:4-7 as I wrote a post about it called, “The Other Time Satan Tempted Jesus” put out on June 24, 2022).

Some will say, “But Jesus was perfect.”

I say that is just an excuse for their sin. We can live in the Holy Spirit, although we don’t because our flesh gets in the way of us achieving holy perfection.

Joseph had the faith to believe even in “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Don’t doubt Joseph because there is little written about him for he only shows up once in Matthew and twice in Luke; furthermore, don’t doubt yourself since God can do some amazing things in your life if one will follow His will.

~ Darren L Beattie, The Soul Blogger of TrueLifeChristianity.com ~


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