Topic: Christmas Passage: Matthew 1:18–1:25
Isaiah 7:14 – Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel.
Who was this Mary?
• Young girl betrothed to a man named Joseph
o In Bible times, Jewish…marriages were arranged by the parents of the bride and groom and often without even consulting the couple to be married. A contract was prepared in which the groom’s parents paid a bride price. Such a contract was immediately deemed binding, with the couple considered married even though the actual ceremony and consummation of the marriage would not occur for as long as a year afterwards. The time between was a sort of testing of fidelity with the couple having little, if any, contact with each other.
• Virtually a nobody
• Her parents were unknown
• She was unknown
• Mary was simply young teenage girl who was growing up anonymously in Nazareth. She blended in, and no one would have expected that that this girl would make even a blip on the pages of history. Seemingly, she was no one special…until…the Holy Spirit came upon her and God placed his Son in her womb.
• It was at that point, when her life took on a whole new significance. God had chosen her. By his Spirit, he placed the life of Christ in her.
• Is this not a picture of our own salvation? ïƒ 1 Cor. 1:26-29
o 26 For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29 so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.
• Old Man & the King (Blank): A ragged, old man on a journey crossed paths with a King one night. “Sir, take this and put it you’re your satchel,” the King said. He handed old man something wrapped in a black cloth. The old man slowly opened the cloth to reveal a 30 carat diamond sparkling in the light of the stars. The man’s eyes widened as he looked up to see the King walking away. “Sir,” the old man called out after him. “What am I to do with this?” “Keep it,” was the reply. “And enjoy it!” And with that the king disappeared. The old man continued on his way. Those passing by imagined his purse only held a few copper coins, but had they noticed the sparkle in his eye, they might have thought otherwise.
• Mary & Joseph: I imagine attentive people passing by noticed a similar gleam in the eyes of Joseph and Mary as they traveled to Bethlehem. Their delight was not in their physical appearance or their financial stability…but in the fact that the God had given them a treasure, a secret treasure they possessed and only they knew about. For now, it was theirs to enjoy and theirs protect, and those passing by had no idea that the greatest treasure the world has ever known, the hope of mankind had been deposited into a young girl who now sat on a little donkey on her way to Bethlehem.
4 Ways to Treasure Jesus
1. See the life of Christ in you as a treasure.
• The angel Gabriel told Mary that she would receive this treasure. He visited her in Galilee in the town of Nazareth and said: “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end… The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God.” (Luke 1:30-35)
• She had found favor with God. Mary had been chosen to have the life of Christ deposited in her by the Holy Spirit.
• Were there other sweet, kind and lovely girls in Israel. Oh, I imagine so, but for some reason God had specifically chosen her to bear his Son.
• Her focus was not on her own personal greatness, but on the greatness of the gift. She responds humbly to the angel, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38)
• 2 Cor. 4:7: But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.
• Mary was the jar of clay. Jesus was the treasure.
o Mary’s focus was on Jesus, not on herself.
o She saw herself simply as a servant of the Lord. Her aim was to advance his good purposes and to care for the treasure given to her.
2. Don’t get so preoccupied with the earthen vessel, that you forget the treasure.
• The value is not the jar of clay. The value is what is in the jar.
• Caring for the Jar: Nutrition, skin care, exercise …these things are of some value…1 Tim. 4:8: “Bodily training is of some value…but keep in mind, these things are simply efforts to maintain the earthen vessel.
• Joseph, needed to take care of Mary and get her safely to Bethlehem. She was the vessel that carried the Christ child. But the treasure was inside!
• After Jesus’ birth, the shepherds came not to see earthen vessels. They didn’t come to see a sweet girl or a kind husband, but they came to see the savior of the world.
• Step back and stand in awe of the God who would descend to become a man. Of the God who would become a helpless baby in the hands of a teenage girl, who had never raised even an ordinary child, and now who would be caring for God’s greatest gift to mankind.
• The angels clued in the shepherds who came to worship Jesus. Joy. Glory. Light. The shepherds stood in awe of the Lord and his plan. They ran with great joy and eager expectation to see Jesus. And when they arrived, they could not help but to worship.
3. Let your enjoyment of the treasure flow into worship.
• We worship that which we enjoy.
• Tapestry: I spent several days at Kaiser hospital during Cailyn’s birth. On the first floor, there was a tapestry on the wall near the elevator. I had passed this tapestry several times during the week, but I never really noticed it until the last day. I went downstairs to get some stuff from our car. When the elevator opened on the first floor, I noticed several old ladies standing by the tapestry. “What a wonderful tapestry!” “Can you believe it was handmade?” “It’s exquisite.” “What a piece of beauty!” They saw the tapestry. They stopped. They focused their attention on the tapestry. They saw the tapestry as a treasure. They enjoyed the beauty of it, and they began to worship!
• We worship what we enjoy. Make Jesus Christ your treasure. Enjoy him, and your enjoyment of him will naturally flow into worship.
• "Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.” – Psalm 37:4
• Mary and Joseph, like the shepherds, treasured Jesus above all else. In their hearts, they believed like Paul, “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.” (Phil. 3:8)
• I imagine Joseph didn’t want to run away to Egypt. He would rather have stayed in Bethlehem or gone back to Nazareth, but he had a treasure to protect.
4. Guard the treasure.
• As the threat of King Harod began to surface, I am sure that Joseph remembered the words of the angel Matt. 1:20-21, “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.” Matt. 1:20-21
• Jesus – comes from the name Joshua; it means “Yahweh saves”
• Mary and Jesus were in the care of Joseph, and he took that responsibility very seriously.
• We too have been entrusted with this treasure…the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
• 2 Tim. 1:12-14: But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me. 13 Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 14 By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.
o Vs 12: “He is able to guard”
o Vs 14: Paul commands Timothy to “guard the good deposit entrusted to him.”
• Paradox: The treasure is secure and yet the treasure is in jeopardy.
o Mary and Joseph: The God of the universe was looking out for his son, and no power in the universe could touch that baby. On the other hand, Harod was after his life.
o Security of the Believer
o Danger we face from world, flesh and the devil.
o God will guard the good deposit he has made in us.
o And yet we too are called to guard this treasure.
• Mary and Joseph
a. On one hand, they knew that the sovereign God of the universe was watching over them and His Son…AND…Nothing could touch him!
b. On the other hand, King Harod had started hearing things about the arrival of a new king, a child king that might threaten his reign. This put the treasure in jeopardy.
c. After the wise men came, Mary and Joseph were warned to flee Bethlehem…so they fled with the treasure so that Harod would not get to it…or more accurately…so Harod would not get to him.
d. As in the days of the flight to Egypt to escape the cruelty of Harod, so today we too have an enemy. Satan is on the prowl; he is seeking to destroy us and to steal away from us the treasure that is in our souls.
e. 1 Peter 5:8 : “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)
f. Mary and Joseph don’t wait around to see how tough Harod is. No, they take off. They flee.
g. Stand or Flee: Christian, when guarding the treasure, there is a time to stand your ground and fight and there is a time to flee.
h. 1 Cor. 6:18: Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.
i. The New Living Translation says: “Run from sexual sin!” Don’t hang out and see if you are spiritual enough to resist the temptation. Take off running! There is an Egypt for you. There is a place of escape.
j. 1 Cor. 10:13: No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide [the Egypt] the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
k. Why do we flee? Is it simply so we do not get soiled by the dirtiness of sin? To avoid feeling like nasty, guilty creatures. No. There is more to it than that. Of course, it is good to maintain purity…but why…Because we’re guarding a treasure…that treasure of sweet intimacy with our savior. I don’t want anything to get between me and Jesus!
Application: The greatest treasure we have is not the equity on our house. It’s not our great marriage or our beautiful children. The greatest treasure you and I possess is the life of Christ in us!
• Col. 1:27: 27 To [the saints] God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
• What was the great blessing that Mary received?
o NOT: Wasn’t an all expense paid vacation to Bethlehem with a side trip to Egypt.
o WAS: Was a front row seat to the glory of God manifested in the person of Jesus Christ. – Mary was lavished with the love of God as he revealed himself to her by giving Jesus to her.
o At the end of Mary’s life, her greatest joy was not that she gave birth to Jesus, but that Jesus, due to his love for her, caused her to be born again. He came to dwell in her. Her greatest joy is our greatest joy, knowing Jesus Christ, the hope of glory.
• Hymn (O that Christ may make His home):
O that Christ may make His home my heart,
Spread Himself in every part!
Saturate and life impart!
That with all saints, I may apprehend
All the vast dimensions of my loving Christ.
• Away in a Manger: Be near me, Lord Jesus;
I ask Thee to stay
Close by me forever
And love me I pray!
• Joy to the World:
Joy to the World , the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room!