For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace – Isaiah 9:6
Jesus’ birth didn’t happen exactly as one would expect. Matthew tells us how it came about. Mary, Jesus’ mother was a virgin. In fact, Matthew makes a point of showing that in having Jesus, Mary was fulfilling prophecy. “Now all this occurred to fulfill what the Lord had spoken through the prophet, saying, “A virgin shall be with child, and will bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is interpreted, “God with us.”
Mary was engaged to a carpenter named Joseph. It was around that time that she was found with child by the Holy Spirit. Matthew doesn’t go into the details as to how her pregnancy came about but Luke does. The angel Gabriel visited her to tell her that she was highly favored and blessed among women. She was told that she would have a Son and call His name Jesus. He explained how this would happen seeing that she was still a virgin. “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you” (Luke 1:35).
It is not a surprising thing for the Holy Spirit to create life in Mary. He was part of the creation of the world where things that didn’t exist came into existence. Jesus’ birth was to be different from the rest of humanity’s. He was to be both Divine and Human and this could only be accomplished the way Gabriel explained.
At the risk of ruining her reputation and even her life, Mary agreed to the Lord’s plan for her life. In those days, if a woman betrothed to another man was discovered to be pregnant and the child was not the man’s whom she is promised to in marriage, she could be stoned to death for committing adultery. And this is what was weighing on Joseph’s mind when he found out that Mary was pregnant and knew that it wasn’t his child.
Joseph was a decent man. He didn’t want to publicly expose Mary but he couldn’t go through with their impending marriage. He had to break things off quietly. No doubt his sleep was fitful and it was while he was thinking this predicament, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for He who is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. She will bear a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.”
What a relief that must have been for Joseph. Mary hadn’t two-timed him and he could go ahead and marry her as he had planned. When he woke up, he did as the angel told him and he took Mary to be his wife. And he named her Son, Jesus.
God knew exactly what He was doing when He chose Mary to be the mother of Jesus and Joseph to be her husband. He knew that everything would work out as it should. Mary trusted God when she accepted His will for her life and as a result she was blessed with Jesus who would her Savior and the world’s.
Sources: Matthew 1; Luke 1