Tagged: Virgin Mary

Matthew 1:18-25

This text is used for the Lectionary Year A on December 22, 2013.

Sometime the greatest challenge for the preacher is not the mysterious text, but the familiar one.  We confidently approach familiar texts presuming to know what they say, and we find it difficult to really listen to them.  We present them to congregations who yawn when they see the text printed in the order of worship because they, too, assume that they know these passages.  Matthew 1:18-25 is such a text for preaching.

The initial challenge of this text is to allow it to stand on its own.  We easily conflate the story of Joseph’s encounter with the angelic messenger and Luke’s account of Gabriel’s visit to Mary (Luke 1:26-38).  However, allowing Matthew’s account to stand on its own first would be a valuable discipline.  Matthew does not have a footnote that says “for more information, see Luke 1:26-38.  He says, “The birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way . . .” (Matthew 1:19, NRSV).  He simply states as a fact that Mary was “found to be with child by the Holy Spirit.”  He does not explain how she knew that.

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