Born at the Right Time
Pastor John Sloan
Introduction: We find grace in the most surprising places and revealed in the most unexpected ways. Grace is the story of the Bible. We see it in the act of creation; we see it in the promise of a Redeemer; of course, we see it in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. But is there an account in Scripture where grace is more arrestingly displayed than in the birth of Jesus?
Questions for Discussion & Discovery
1. How were first-century betrothals different than our current marital engagements? In light of Mary’s unexpected pregnancy, what did Joseph have every right to do?
2. How did Joseph demonstrate remarkable grace?
3. From what specifically did Jesus come to save us (verse 21)? Why do we need to be saved?
4. What happens to anything that is separated from God?
5. 19th Century British preacher, Charles H. Spurgeon, once wrote, “A man must have forgiveness, or else everything will be emptiness to him.” What do you think he meant? Do you agree?
6. In what sense could the reality that God is “with us” be terrifying? How does it bring unparalleled comfort?
1. “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. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly.” – Matthew 1:18-19
2. 01. In sparing his wife from the shame and punishment that such a violation of the law demanded, Joseph points us to Jesus.
3. “We should not miss the point that the note of grace is struck so early in this Gospel.” – Leon Morris
4. “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. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.’” – Matthew 1:20-21
5. 02. Jesus spares us from the punishment the law demands by fulfilling all the law’s requirements perfectly. In our place.
6. “A man must have forgiveness, or else everything will be emptiness to him.” – Charles Spurgeon
7. “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 Immanuel’ (which means, God with us). When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.”
– Matthew 1:22-25 ESV
8. 03. Jesus came into the world to affect a reunion with God.
9. “Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the
Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
– Hebrews 4:14-16 ESV