Matthew 1:20-23 ~ 20201206 ~ Marcus Bratton ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~

12/06_Matthew 1:20-23; The Christ of Christmas; Audio available at:

December 6, 2020 // ECB. //Matt 1:20-23, various texts

The Christ Of Christmas

Intro: name, tri-grace,love being a part of the body at ecb bod

I am so very thankful to be here with you today. I'm truly thankful to come together, with you, to study and know God’s word. Have it written on our hearts to change the way that we think, the way we speak and the way that we live out our  lives. Changing and molding us to do everything that we do to bring glory to God. This simple goal can be so hard at times. There is so much to be distracted by, especially during this Christmas season. Shopping, decorations, presents, red and green turtlenecks, Santa clause, Rudolf the rednosed reindeer and the list goes on. If not those things worry, stress, sorrow, doubt and because of a pandemic, the holiday season won't be like it used to be. It is so easy to put our Hope in all the stuff that comes with the month of December, and lose sight of it once we throw out the christmas tree. It is easy to look back and be distraught because we will not have all the stuff, and do all the things that we normally find so much joy in. 

Even though it might not sound like it. I do love Christmas. I love the message. I love the way it brings family together. I love the food. And I love the music and poetry that has been composed over the many years to celebrate the season. Most of all I love the Christmas family traditions. Some of us have a somewhat of a family tradition. Some always make a gingerbread version of their family and never eat them. Some always go to get a tree on the first of december. For  Others, the tradition is to not do anything. The tradition that has the longest run in my family is my grandparents on my mom’s side, dressing up the 9 grandkids as characters in the nativity scene. Pictures as baby Jesus, a shepherd, a wise man. All the way through the years and finally I got to be Joseph.  All the while not in any way understanding who I was dressing up as or why who I was dressing up as mattered. But still, It just wasn't Christmas without the 9 Grandkids dressed up as 1st century people in a barn.  

I know that there is so much heart warming  good that comes from this holiday season. I feel the danger is tho, being distracted by the good and not focusing on the great. 


We can easily lose sight of the 1000s of years of promises fulfilled on the seemingly insignificant silent night. We can become numb to the reality of the almighty creator of the universe, the one who has all power and authority choosing to enter  into his creation at the most vulnerable point humanly possible. We often forget His birth is the realization of God’s plan to save his people from their sins. We must not forget, we must not be wooed into being numb to these marvelous realities. So, this morning we go to the word of God to be reminded of Jesus Christ the reason for this season. Please pray with me before we go to the Word of God.


Please open your bibles to the 1st chapter of Mathew. 

With the book of Matthew before our eyes, we see the genealogy of Jesus the Christ, Jesus the messiah all the way back to David , and further to Abraham. 

We see Jesus' mother Mary and the man she is betrothed to but before the wedding day Mary finds out she is pregnant. But, Mary was a virgin. Joseph finds out, and begins to wrestle with the idea that he should quietly divorce her to ensure that her reputation is not ruined.

20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “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. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). 

So this morning we will dive into this text,and use this text as the springboard, and jump to the old testament, and to the epistles to be reminded and encouraged, by the true reason for this season. The three things I hope we  can be encouraged by and reminded of this morning  are.  

  1. The Promise of Christ

  2. The Presence of Christ

  3. The Purpose of Christ


First, Let us look at the Promise of  Christ

 In vs 20 the angel addresses Joseph, as a descendant of david. Matthew records this, even after expressing the 3 sets of genealogy, showing that Jesus is a descendant of david. 

Jews believed that the promised Messiah would be exactly that, from a human viewpoint, he would be a member of the royal lineage of David.

Those that knew their scripture would know what God promised. 

In 2 Sam chapter 7 we have the Lord, Speaking through the Prophet Nathan to King David. 

2 Sam 7: 12 When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 

The promise of God to King david, that somewhere in the future the messiah is to come from Davids line, He will establish a Kingdom , and it will last forever 

Even everyday average Jews at the time of Jesus knew that the Christ, the messiah would be a descendant of David . John records  a dispute happening between everyday Jews in Galilee.

John 7: 40 When they heard these words, some of the people said, “This really is the Prophet.” 41 Others said, “This is the Christ.” But some said, “Is the Christ to come from Galilee? 42 Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the offspring of David, and comes from Bethlehem, the village where David was?”

Whatever person in the crowd that is responsible for the words of vs 42 knew their scriptures, in that moment, probably reminded of.

Micah 5:2 But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days. 

The only thing that that individual was missing was that they were ignorant of the reality that Jesus did come from bethlehem. 

Luke 2:4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David,

So, we can see very quickly and simply see that the promise concerning Christ as a descendant from David is so perfectly realized in reality of the Birth of Jesus. 

Now, Lets See the promise concerning Christ being born of a woman. Let us  go all the way back to the beginning.  Back to Genesis 

We should know that Genesis chapter 3, is when the fall happens, Adam and  Eve eat of the fruit disobeying God. In vs 15 God is speaking to the serpent, Speaking to Satan.  Expressing the consequences for temping Adam and Eve.

Gen 3:15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”

Notice with me, What God is saying as a consequence to satan. God is saying that the "seed" of the woman, after being bruised on the heel, will bruise the head of satan.  Her offspring, Eve's "seed" will defeat Satan. Not Adam's. 

Notice quickly with me, for the sake of clarity that Joseph is never identified as the Father of Jesus. Jesus is Never identified as the “seed” of Joseph  

Matthew 2:13, says, “Arise, and take the young child and his mother, 

not identifying Joseph as the Father.

2:20 of Matthew, “Arise, and take the young child and his mother,

Jesus is always identified as the Child of Mary. Not the child of Joseph. 

Now in that same vs from our passage this morning. v20 of Matthew, the angel says to Joseph “do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.” 

The Messiah was promised to be a descendant of David, born of a woman. But not to come by natural means. The Messiah was promised to be born of a virgin. 

A virgin giving birth is not normal. It does not happen. One might even say it's not even possible.

That's exactly how Mary responded in Luke Chapter 1

Here we have an account of the angel Gabriel sent by the lord to go to Mary and tell her she will bear a son.       

Luke 1:34 And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”35 And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you;

Luke 1:37 For with God nothing will be impossible.”

So, this narrative in Luke 1 comes before the narrative explained in our passage for this morning. Our passage this morning ,in matthew, is the angel coming to Joseph and encouraging him with the truth that Mary is Pregnant because of the Holy Spirit, not pregnant because of sexual relations with a man. So we know that Josephs knows Mary is pregnant, and Joseph is afraid, worried, even planning on divorcing her. But why?

He feared that Mary had been unfaithful, what other way could he explain her being pregnant.  

 Enter Angel, “for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.”

 And this matters Why? 

Because God Promised in the old testament that the messiah would be born of a virgin.

Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

Now this is not a jump that I make, it is not an assumption that we make.  We see Matthew himself break away from the narrative telling of the birth of Christ, and give his own commentary on the fulfillment of this promise given by the the prophet Isaiah. Look at vs 21, then vs 22 the narrative of what happening stops, and Mathew brings his readers back to the Word of the Lord concerning the Birth of the Messiah. Connecting the dots, 

22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).


That brings us to the second reason of that which we are in need of being reminded of  

The Presence of Christ

Immanuel. Jesus Christ is God, Jesus Christ is God With Us. We hear it so often don’t we. So often we might become numb to radical implications of it. We can lose sight of the mind boggling reality of this Christmas season, being that the almighty creator of the universe came to dwell with his creation.  

Let us look at a parallel, that we may have not seen as a parallel before. But are probably very familiar with it.

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father...

The Angel Gabriel speaking to Mary about her child Jesus. 

Luke 1:32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High....

Luke 1:35 therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God.

Jesus the God man 100% man 100% God. He is the Son of God, deity. He is the Son of David, humanity. The incarnation. 

Dr. Walvoord, the former president of Dallas Theological Seminary, and massively impactful theologian said – and I quote - “The incarnation of the Lord Jesus Christ is the central fact of Christianity.  Upon it the whole superstructure of Christian theology depends.” 

The virgin birth, that we just talked about,  made possible the uniting of full deity and full humanity in one person. This was the means God used to send his Son into the world as a man.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son,

Gal 4:4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman…

The virgin birth makes possible Christ’s true humanity without inherited sin.  As we have been reminded, Joseph was not Jesus’s Father in the literal sense. Jesus did not Inherit original sin, as all the rest of humanity does. All of us, along with the rest of humanity, inherit our sin and corruption from our original father Adam who rebelled against God eating of the tree in disobedience. 

But, Jesus does not have man for a Father, His Father is God. X2

I know that this is not news to most of us, but Jesus is God. 

Col 1:15 He is the image of the invisible God,

Col 2:9 For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily,

And that fullness of deity dwelt in a baby. X2

''Infinite and yet an infant. Efernal and yet born of a woman.  Almighty, and yet nursing at a woman's breast.  Supporting a universe,  And yet carried in a mother's arms.”

--Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Overwhelming, amazing, true

The Word became flesh! God became human! The invisible became visible! The untouchable became touchable! ... The transcendent one descended and drew near! The unlimited became limited! The infinite became finite! The immutable became mutable! The unbreakable became fragile! Spirit became matter! Eternity entered time! The independent became dependent! The almighty became weak! The love became hated! The exalted was humbled! Glory was subjected to shame! Fame turned into obscurity!...From a throne to a cross!...”

But, why?  Why would the Almighty One, the Prince of Peace, Mighty God, King of Kings, Creator God, enter into his creation. In the likeness of His creation.

What is the purpose of Christ

We spent a little time away from it, let's go back to our text for this morning, in Matthew, to be reminded of the purpose of Christ.

Matthew 1:21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

Yahweh saves. Jesus Came to save his people from their sins. The Birth of Christ is miraculous, it’s wonderful, it’s supernatural. But, what does the birth of Christ  demand of you. Does the Birth of Christ demand you change the way you think the way you speak. The way we live our lives. Probably not.. Because if we stop at the birth as a nice christmas narrative. We miss the mark, we miss the point, we miss the purpose  in a very real way. 

For even the angel speaking to Joseph, sent by the Lord, proclaims the birth of Christ, in light of the death of christ. X2

If we look at the birth of Christ and see it as only, a deathless story of a baby born in a manger that we remind ourselves of once a year, we will be unable to grasp the true meaning of Christmas. 

The true meaning of Christ- mas, is that Jesus Christ, Jesus messiah, all Mighty God, Creator God, came born of a woman to die.  To die.

Philippians 2:6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Jesus Himself says 

Mark 10:45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Eternal God, born to give his life as a ransom for many.

Naturally, we still ask why? 

Short answer, because of, and for You.

Long answer. 

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

Do you believe in this Christ do you believe in the name of the only son of God?  Do you see the only Son of God, as the  one who ransomed you to save you from your sins. If not cry out to Him. Beg for mercy, beg for forgiveness. Believe in Jesus. And do it with confidence, for that is the reason He came, for that is the purpose of Christ.

And we know. 

For those that believe in the name of Jesus the only Son of God

2 Cor 5:21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

For our sake God made Jesus to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Jesus we might become the righteousness of God.

Be reminded, brothers and sisters, of  the reason for this season. Let us not be distracted from the wonderful reality of Christ. Let's us always look at Christmas, because of christ. Not Christ because of Christmas. Let us never forget, let us never become numb. Let these wonderful reminders from the word of God, ring true in our ear. Let the truth of it shape the way we do everything that we do. In and out of season. Remind yourselves of the wonderful Gospel every single day. Remind yourself of the Hope you have in His name. Remind yourself of the peace you have with God by the Blood of His Cross. Remind yourself of the Joy you have. The Joy,  that the all Mighty God, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords came to die, in your place so that he can put you in His place.So, Church, as we go about this season and beyond, boldly, lovingly, and clearly preach the gospel, declaring it and… Do not fear, for God is with us.


Marcus Bratton ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~