Matthew 1:18–25 – "Joseph Steps toward the Unknown" – J. P. Kang

Questions for Reflection:

1. This passage provides the surprising, irregular, even scandalous, back story to Jesus’s birth and naming. What do these twists tell us about the way God chooses to work in our lives?

2. The angel tells Joseph to name his son “Jesus,” which is the Greek version of the common Hebrew name “Joshua,” both of which mean “The LORD saves.” How has knowing Jesus been a means of rescue or redemption in your life?

3. Verses 22–23 claim that what happened to Mary was a (new) fulfillment of the words of Isaiah (7:14). These two sons, the one born in the 8th century in Isaiah’s Jerusalem and the one to be born to Mary in Bethlehem, are to be given the name “Immanuel,” literally “God-with-us.” How have you experienced Jesus as God-with-you?

4. What do you learn from Joseph’s responses to the surprising news of Mary’s pregnancy (v. 19) and obedience to the angel’s command (vv. 20–21, 24–25)? How did Joseph handle the stress and uncertainty of these developments, and what might we learn from his example? How do we learn to receive surprises as opportunities and gifts?