Mary and Joseph

An Ordinary Couple Meets an Extraordinary Baby

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Hebrews 4:15

Can you imagine Mary as she looked eagerly at the tiny bundle of flesh that Joseph held in his hands. As he placed the baby in her arms and sat beside her to look at Him, what could Joseph have been thinking? What did they expect to see?

The baby did not glow. His head was not circled by a halo. He looked like other newborns they had seen. He had ten tiny fingers, ten tiny toes, dark and curly hair. His red wrinkly face protested the travail He had just experienced.

Often we see idealized manger scenes, some of them fancy crystal crèches, and forget how ordinary this event looked in spite of the identity of this extraordinary baby.

Joseph and Mary knew the miraculous circumstances behind the conception: she was a virgin and had conceived by the Holy Spirit. Before Jesus began kicking at Mary from the womb—gentle nudges to acknowledge His Presence and eagerness to be born—Joseph and Mary had each been visited by angels. They hadn’t spent hours picking a name: the angel told each of them that His name would be Jesus, yeshua, which meant “savior” or “Yahweh saves” (Matthew 1:18-25 and Luke 1:30-31).

The people of Israel had long anticipated a Savior, a Messiah, because God had made promises to Abraham, King David, and through the prophets. Now Joseph and Mary looked into the face of someone like them and yet not like them at all.

As you look at the tiny babe in the manger this Christmas, can you feel the awe Joseph and Mary must have felt as God broke into history to dwell with His people and be their Savior?


Read Luke 1:26-38. What else did the angel tell Mary besides the name she was to give her child?

What was the repeated promise in these OT prophecies: Isaiah 40:2; 53:6; Jeremiah 31:31–34; Ezekiel 36:25–27; Dan. 9:24; Zechariah 13:1?

Read Matthew 1:22-23 and Isaiah 7:14. What is the meaning of another title given to Jesus?

Read Exodus 19:12-25 and Hebrews 12:18-24. Why do you think the coming of God to meet his people at Mt. Sinai was so different from the coming of Jesus at Bethlehem?

Nancy J. Baker


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