When God Asks You To Do The Impossible Matthew 1:18-24 ESV

18 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. 

There were essentially three steps to marriage in the Jewish world of Jesus’ time. 

Engagement: This could happen when the bride and groom to be were quite young, and was often arranged by the parents. 

Betrothal: This made the previous engagement official and binding. During the time of betrothal the couple were known as husband and wife, and a betrothal could only be broken by divorce. Betrothal typically lasted a year. 

Marriage: This took place after the wedding, after the year of betrothal.

19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 

Being a just (righteous) man, and not wanting to make her a public example: Being a just man, Joseph knew that if Mary had been unfaithful to him it would be impossible to go through with the marriage. 

Yet as a just man he did not want to make this an unnecessary hardship or stigma upon Mary. Joseph made the understandable decision to seek a quiet divorce. 

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. 

That which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit: This angelic word to Joseph was persuasive, confirming Mary. 

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

You shall call his name Jesus: The name Jesus (“The Salvation of Yahweh”) was fairly common in that day (Josephus mentions 12 different men named “Jesus” in his writings), but it is supremely blessed in our day. As was later said by the Apostle Peter, there is no other name under heaven by which men must be saved (Acts 4:12). 

For He will save His people from their sins: The angelic messenger briefly and eloquently stated the work of the coming Messiah, Jesus. He will come as a savior, and come to save His people from their sins

This description of the work of Jesus reminds us that Jesus meets us in our sin, but His purpose is to save us from our sins. He saves us first from the penalty of sin, then from the power of sin, and finally from the presence of sin. 

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). 

Immanuel: This title of Jesus refers to both His deity (God with us) and His identification and nearness to man (God with us). Quoting Isaiah 7:14

“In what sense then, is Christ God with us? Jesus is called Immanuel, or God with us, in his incarnation; God with us, by the influences of his Holy Spirit, in the holy sacrament, in the preaching of his word, in private prayer. And God with us, through every action of our life, that we begin, continue, and end in his name. He is God with us, to comfort, enlighten, protect, and defend us, in every time of temptation and trial, in the hour of death, in the day of judgment; and God with us and in us, and we with and in him, to all eternity.” (Adam Clarke) 

24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, 25 but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.

Did as the angel of the Lord commanded: Joseph’s obedience is notable. He did not doubt nor waver; he instantly understood the truth and the importance of the angelic messenger that came to him in the dream. 

Are you facing a situation that God has called you into, but you just know that it is beyond your pay grade? Is God asking you to do something that is just too hard?  Overwhelming? Seemingly impossible? Joseph understood.  


What can we learn from the life of Joseph that can help us today?

Be faithful in the MOMENT  (small things) Joseph, the carpenter (Matthew 13:55), Jesus was a carpenter (Mark 6:3)

Matthew 25:21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’

Cultivate a heart of PURITY (Focus on your heart) Was a “just man” (Matthew 1:19)

1 Peter 3:12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”

Remember your IDENTITY in Christ  Who belonged to Nazareth (Luke 2:4) but was of Davidic descent (Matthew 1:20)

John 1:46 Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.”

1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.

Seek COURAGE to follow  Protected the baby Jesus from Satanic attack through Herod

Matthew 2: 13 Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” 14 And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt

Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

Pursue HOLINESS  (eyes on God) Joseph observed the Holy Days and Hebrew Feast with his family as shown in Luke 2:41-42 

Luke 2:41 Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover.

42 And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom.

Radical OBEDIENCE, which requires grace

24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, 25 but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.