Love: God with Us!
Matthew explicitly says that Mary was a virgin, thus signifying that this is no ordinary human birth. In this birth, God is at work bringing about God’s purposes for the whole world. God’s Holy Spirit is busy in this miraculous birth. As we follow the ministry of Jesus through Matthew’s Gospel, we will find that the Spirit is active throughout Jesus’ ministry. Mary and Joseph become exemplars of how people should respond to the claims of this very special baby. Mary’s pregnancy shocks Joseph. Deuteronomy 22:23-27 specifies that a woman in Mary’s situation could be tried publicly and then executed. When Joseph decides to “dismiss her quietly,” Joseph is being merciful in trying to avoid public censure and yet he is also being “righteous” by fulfilling the dictates of the biblical law. Why? Because he loves Mary. It takes an angel, a messenger sent from God, to reveal to Joseph that Mary’s pregnancy is actually none other than the work of the Spirit. God is doing an unprecedented new thing here.