Light of the World: Day Ten
The Light Dawns
Read Matthew 1
In my early years of motherhood, I used to tell my kids our plans weeks in advance. I quickly learned that this was not a wise thing to do with young children. They have no concept of time and so, if I told them we were doing something in a couple weeks, they would wake up every single morning and ask, “Is today the day?!” My patience soon wore thin and I stopped telling them our plans and instead, would just let each day unfold for them. Thanks be to God, he is a much more kind, patient, and generous Father than any earthly parent. Throughout Israel’s history he continually told them his plans, through prophesy, about what he would do in order to fix the problem of sin. There was approximately 700 years between the time Isaiah prophesied about the great light to the time of Jesus’ birth. It is the Gospels of Matthew and Luke that offer us the most extensive explanations of how the birth of Jesus came about.
Matthew begins his Gospel with a genealogy that traces Jesus’ ancestors from the time of Abraham. While we may be tempted to skip over these names in the first 17 verses of this Gospel, don’t do it! Every single name is a testament to the faithfulness of God. By skipping over the names in this genealogy we are essentially telling God, “I’m getting bored with your faithfulness.” Through every generation from Genesis 3:15 onward, God was bringing about his plan for our salvation. He was whittling down the line from Abraham, to Judah, to David to this moment in history when the Messiah would be born. This is an incredible reality! If you just skimmed the first 17 verses of Matthew 1, I encourage you to stop now, go back, and take your time reading through all those names. In each name may you see the steadfast love and kindness of God.
The miracle of the incarnation is described in Matthew 1:18, Mary became pregnant not by man but by God. As Joseph decides to quietly divorce Mary, an angel appears to him and says:
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. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.
The angel instructs Joseph to name the baby Jesus (which literally means “Savior”) because he would save his people from their sins. The people who have disobeyed him from the beginning, scorned his name, run after other gods, and who have been walking in the muck and mire of the darkness are the very people that Jesus came to save. Any man would have given up on people that treat him so poorly. Not so with God.
What’s even more incredible is what follows:
All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:
“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
And they shall call his name
(which means, God with us.)
Mary wasn’t just pregnant with any baby. She was pregnant with the second member of the trinity – God himself. Think back to what God promised in the protoevangelium, he promised he would provide an offspring of woman to crush the head of the serpent. But this was a problem that only God could fix. Thus, Jesus wrapped himself in flesh and was born in a manger in order to save us from our sin.
What a Savior indeed that would come himself to fix the problems of people that were so greatly opposed to him! His faithfulness throughout the generations culminated in the dawning of the great light on the people who walk in darkness. He came, "to save us all from Satan's power, when we were gone astray." Truly, what tidings of comfort and joy!
Action Point: Take a moment to consider the great love and faithfulness of God, that he would leave heaven’s throne and be born in a manger in order to fix mankind’s sin problem. Think through some ways you can worship and obey him today in response to the great love and faithfulness he has shone you.