The Expository Files


She Will Bear a Son

Matthew 1:21

“She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21

When Mary was found with child the Lord appeared to Joseph, to whom she was betrothed, and gave him this message. The angel explained that the child in Mary’s womb was conceived in her of the Holy Spirit and that he should not be afraid to take her as his wife. In this simple statement to Joseph the angel revealed God’s plan for His Son and the redemption of mankind in His name.

“She will bear a Son.” In the days before ultra-sound imaging it was impossible for one to know the sex of a child before birth. The infant in Mary was a baby boy as the Lord had promised her (Luke 1:31). No man could have known this for certainty although we might say they had a fifty-fifty chance. This was the child of promise, the “Seed” in the promise to Abraham by which all the nations of the earth would be blessed (Genesis 12:3; Galatians 3:16).

“You shall call His name Jesus.” This same message was given to mother Mary (Luke 1:31). The name “Jesus” is derived from the verb, “to save.” In the Hebrew it is the same as Joshua. It was a very common name among the Jews. The name is made up of two parts. The first is the expression for God, ‘Yahweh,” and the second means “to deliver”. It means “God will deliver.” It means He is the Savior. Jesus had another name as well and that was Immanuel, which translated means “God with us.” The giving of this name was in fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah given about 700 years before the birth of this child to a virgin (Isaiah 7:14). There is no single name that will suffice to describe Jesus and there are many descriptive terms that are applied to Him.

“For He shall save His people.” This is the reason for the giving of the name as we explained above. A high ranking official will often times refer to those who surround him on a daily basis and serve his needs, as “his people.” God had a people in the Old Testament. These people were the chosen people. It certainly was an honor to be chosen, but more importantly it meant that they existed to serve Him. When they refused to serve God, they lost the honor. Who were the people, whom the angel was referring to when said these words to Joseph? In John 6:37 Jesus said, “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.” The people of Jesus are those who “behold(s) the Son and believes in Him” (John 6:40). They are the people who will be raised up to eternal life in the last day (John 6:39, 40). His people are those people who are saved. He cannot save those people who do not come to Him. He cannot save those people who do not believe in Him. The Father has not given the unbelieving to be His people but the believing.

He shall save His people “from their sins.” This is the reason that Jesus came. Albert Barnes wrote, “It was not to save them in their sins but to save them from their sins.” There is no greater work than to bring the lost to Jesus so that He can save them. Materialistic pursuits and a “gospel” that is designed to satisfy physical longings do nothing about sin.

For His part the sinless Jesus died on the cross to redeem us from sin. “As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; By His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, As He will bear their iniquities (Isaiah 53:11). On our part we must believe and obey Him to become “His people.”

By  Karl Hennecke
From Expository Files 16.12; December 2009