(Not full manuscript)
By Rev. Dr. Sergio E. Arevalo, Jr.
Eagle Rock Lutheran Church, Los Angeles, Ca
December 22, 2013
Let me ask the gentlemen in our church, if you were engaged to a woman of your love, and you found out that she is pregnant, and you know you are not the father. Will you still marry her? What will be your feelings?
For parents here, if your son is about to marry his girlfriend, and he found out that she is pregnant, and he knows he is
not the father, what’s your feelings? Will you still advise him to marry his girl?
You may different responses, but here in our passage, Joseph, was trying to dismiss her quietly—meaning wanting to divorce her secretly or else Mary would be stone to death (Deut.22:23).
Why divorce? Well in fact they were not yet married? Yes they were not yet married in our modern western standard. Since they had no formal religious ceremony of the wedding, but a blessing was pronounced and a “covenant of God” entered into (Eze.16:8, Malachi 2:14; Prov.2:17; Gene.24:60; Ruth 4:11-12). The important and distinguishing part of the ceremony was the taking of the bride from her father’s house to that of the groom of father. That’s why the angel told to Joseph in a dream that “do not be afraid to take Mary” as his wife (Mt.1:20).
To cut the story short. Joseph took Mary as his wife.
PROPHECY ABOUT THE MESSIAH
The coming of the Messiah was prophesied by Isaiah long time ago, probably 8th century BCE when he active in the Southern Kingdom of Judah. Isaiah 7:14 says, “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Emmanuel” (Mt. 1:23).
Actually Isaiah was not the only one who foretold about the coming of the Messiah. It was also prophesied in Genesis, prophesied by Hosea (11:1), by Malachi (3:1), by Jeremiah (31:15), etc. When God makes a promise, he is faithful to his Word.
THE MEANING OF EMMMANUEL
Emmanuel means “Eli is with us” or “God is with us.”
Matthew 1:23 mentions the prophesy of Isaiah that the son shall be called Emmanuel. What’s the meaning of that name?
Wikipedia explains that “The setting is the Syro-Ephraimite War, 734 BC, which saw Judah pitted against two northern neighbors, Israel (called Ephraim in the prophecy) and Syria (also known as Aram or Aram-Damascus or Syria-Damascus). Isaiah 7:1-2 tells how the kings of Ephraim and Syria attack Jerusalem when King Ahaz refuses to join them in their anti-Assyrian alliance. Ahaz wishes to ask Assyria for help, but Isaiah, at God’s command, takes his son Shear-jashub (a symbolic name meaning ‘a remnant shall return’) and assures Ahaz that the two enemy kings will not succeed (Isaiah 7:3-9). Isaiah tells Ahaz of the sign by which he will know that this is a true prophecy: a virgin (translated as ‘young woman’ in the later Hebrew Masoretic) will give birth to a child whom she will name Emmanuel (another symbolic name, meaning ‘God is with us’), and the lands of the enemy will be laid waste before the child is old enough to ‘reject the wrong and choose the right’” (Isaiah 7:13-16) (Wikepedia.com).
For Isaiah in times of their political crisis, God shall be with them to protect and side with them. The only problem is that Isaiah did not know when the savior shall come.
THE EMMANUEL WAS BORN TWO THOUSAND YEARS AGO
Yes indeed, the Messiah born two thousand years ago in a manger. Thus, the Emmanuel is born. God incarnated Himself. Now God is with us. God loves us so He saves us from all our sins.
GOD IS WITH US ALWAYS.
Indeed God loves us and He wants us to be with him always. In Matthew 28:20 Jesus says, “I am with you always to the end of the age.”
God loves us and he is always with us, even in our troubles, and crisis in life God is with us.
Footprints in the Sand
One night I dreamed a dream.
As I was walking along the beach with my Lord.
Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life.
For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand,
One belonging to me and one to my Lord.
After the last scene of my life flashed before me,
I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
I noticed that at many times along the path of my life,
especially at the very lowest and saddest times,
there was only one set of footprints.
This really troubled me, so I asked the Lord about it.
“Lord, you said once I decided to follow you,
You’d walk with me all the way.
But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life,
there was only one set of footprints.
I don’t understand why, when I needed You the most, You would leave me.”
He whispered, “My precious child, I love you and will never leave you
Never, ever, during your trials and testings.
When you saw only one set of footprints,
It was then that I carried you.”