This devotional is Day 9 of the 25-Day Advent Series “The Wonders of His Love.” Follow along with us as we grow in grace through the Christmas story by subscribing or bookmaking the home page above!
Scripture: Matthew 1:18-25
As a little girl, I remember learning about the prospect of a prince. He would be dashing, strong, trustworthy and courageous.
The stories told of dire circumstances where the only hope was for a prince to come charging in at the last minute for a life-saving rescue. If he didn’t come, there would be no hope. Evil would triumph.
Even at that young age, as much as I dreamed of a prince and the wonderful rescue he represented, I understood that he was just beyond reasonable probability. The fairytales were clear – rare was the girl who would actually find her prince and even better, be rescued from her worst fear.
These stories leave us feeling the overwhelming tension of waiting for a miracle because let’s face it, a prince coming to our rescue is more than unlikely, it is inconceivable.
And yet, that is exactly what we see happen in Matthew 1:18-20 ESV:
“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. 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 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.”
The tension builds quickly in the story of Jesus’ birth. His unwed teenage mother finds herself in danger as much as any princess in the fairytales. Her pregnancy before her marriage meant certain death in that culture. Even though it was from the Holy Spirit and the fulfillment of prophecy, it still placed her in grave danger. It was in fact, a death sentence.
But are we any different?
As soon as we are born, we are just as much in need of a rescue – from our sin, from ourselves.
Just as Mary felt the risk of her life on the line, so do we. It doesn’t take us long to feel the desperation from sin we cannot tame, from lives out of control.
Mary felt the impossibilities that confronted her and so do we. Each of us on the edge of our seat, looking for any hope of a rescue, a reprieve of our death sentence from sin and shame. The need so great, the options so few, the rescue so unlikely, the pressure mounts with hope against hope.
And then He comes…
“She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 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). 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.” Matthew 1:21-25
Just when there is nothing more than a miracle that can save from certain ruin, God intervenes!
For Mary, the Lord protected her and assured Joseph of her righteousness and His plan. For us, He sent His only begotten Son to rescue us for eternity.
And what a rescue it is!
The Redeemer Prince
What makes Jesus so great is that He is more than a rescuer, He is our Redeemer. He doesn’t just save us from our danger, He pays the price for our sin and shame. No fairytale prince ever did that!
When I look at our insurmountable need, I see two ways God met that need through Jesus:
– Our Redeemer Prince came! We aren’t left hanging – waiting and hoping that our miracle actually shows up in the nick of time. He burst on the scene as a tiny baby but He came with prophetic force and purpose.
His name “Jesus” means “the Lord saves”. We don’t have to feel hopeless at how unlikely our Prince will actually appear. He came to save each of us personally!
– Our Redeemer Prince came to stay. He didn’t just charge in on a white horse for a quick rescue and then leave. He stayed!
His name “Immanuel” means “God with us.” God knew that we needed a Prince that would live among us and show us the way, the Truth and the life.
We needed to see the exact representation of God the Father in order to live out our faith. He lived 33 years among us and then gave His Spirit to live within us after He ascended to the throne of God in heaven.
Living Happily Ever After
Our redemptive story is so much better than ANY fairytale. Our “happy ever after” means living eternally in the glorious presence of our Prince of Peace in heaven. What an ending to the story of our lifetime that will be!
“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!” Revelation 5:13
Questions for the Heart:
- Have you ever thought of the Gospel in this way? Say a prayer of thanks to Jesus for His willingness to heroically save us from our greatest enemy – sin.
- Mary’s situation was precarious, and yet we see God cared for her every step of the way. In what ways can you lean upon His faithfulness this holiday season and in the new year?
- If you’re discouraged or weary right now, how can remembering our “happily ever after” in heaven restore your joy?
About the Author
Gretchen’s passion is to follow hard after Jesus, knowing He is the treasure of a lifetime and worth every minute she commits to Him. God’s Word has been life-changing for her through the most trying times—a great source of strength, wisdom, and truth.
She’s a Bible teacher who speaks and writes at gretchenfleming.com because she loves to see Jesus change lives as He’s changed hers. Gretchen is a wife of 29 years and mother of 3 young adult children. She lives in Jacksonville, Florida.