MATTHEW 1:18-25 (continued)
This passage tells us how Jesus was born by the action of the Holy Spirit. It is called the VIRGIN BIRTH. At the moment, we are concerned only to find out what this means for us.
If we come to this passage with fresh eyes and read it as if we were reading it for the first time, we will find that what it stresses is not so much that Jesus was born of a woman who was a virgin, as that the birth of Jesus is the work of the Holy Spirit. "Mary was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit." "That which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit." It is as if these sentences were underlined, with large print. That is what Matthew wishes to say to us in this passage. What, then, does he mean to say that in the birth of Jesus, the Holy Spirit of God was especially operative? Let us concentrate on that great truth, as Matthew would wish us to do.
In Jewish thought, the Holy Spirit had certain very definite functions. We cannot bring to this passage the Christian idea of the Holy Spirit in all its fullness, because Joseph would know nothing about that. We must interpret it in the light of the Jewish idea of the Holy Spirit because that was all he knew.
(1st) According to the Jewish Idea, the Holy Spirit brought God's truth to men. It was theHoly Spirit who taught the prophets what to say; it was the Holy Spirit who taught men of God what to do; it was the Holy Spirit who, throughout the ages and the generations, brought God's truth to men. So then, Jesus is the One who brings God's truth to men. Jesus is the One who can tell us what God is like, and what God means us to be. Only in Jesus do we see what God is and what man ought to be. Jesus is the only one who can say, "He who has seen me has seen the Father." (John 14:9) In Jesus, we see the love, the compassion, the mercy, and the purity of God as nowhere else. With the coming of Jesus, the time of guessing is gone. Jesus came to tell us the truth about God and the truth about ourselves.
(2nd) The Jews believed that the Holy Spirit not only brought God's truth to men but enabled men to recognize that truth when they saw it. So then, Jesus opens men's eyes to the truth. Men are blind by their own ignorance; they are led astray by their own prejudices; their minds and eyes are darkened by their own sins. Jesus can open our eyes so that we are able to see the truth.
Life Application: Life is quite different when Jesus teaches us how to look at things. When Jesus comes into our hearts, He opens our eyes to see things truthfully.
Praise/Prayer: Dear Father, what a difference You and Jesus make when You come into the lives of humans. "Old things pass away, and all things become new." What a wonderful difference in our lives when You guide us. Hallelujah! Amen!