Sermon: Joseph’s Sleepless Night (Matthew 1:16-25)

When was your last sleepless night?

What caused it?

A baby? Anxiety? Sickness? Sadness? Job loss? A job gained?

Most of our days roll on with rhythmic sameness. We wake up, drink our coffee, go about our day’s work, eat dinner, go to bed… and repeat. But every so often we experience days that stop us in our tracks. Days we never forget. Days where the world stops and our lives change.

Matthew 1:20 describes one of those days for Joseph.

Matthew 1:20 takes us into one of Joseph’s sleepless nights. He finds out that his young wife-to-be, Mary, is pregnant — with a child that he knows is not his.

Can you imagine what that day was like? How did he respond at first? Did he explode in anger? Retreat in silence? Get consumed by fear? Worry about the inevitable public shame?

In verse 20, Joseph lies down in fear. He is confused and anxious…and by verse 24, he rises up with clarity, trust, and direction. By verse 24 he is probably still afraid, but he is no longer disoriented by the fog of confusion. He knows exactly what he should do and where he should go. He has been brought from being fearful to focused.

How did he arrive at clarity and confidence?

The answer might surprise you.

The primary truth Matthew wants to teach us in chapter one is the Trinity. This is the basic theological truth he wants to convey. But he doesn’t do it in an academic way, he does it through a narrative. Here in this section, he wants to teach us about the person and work of both the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ. The solution that God has for Joseph to move from fear to faith is a theological lesson on the Trinity. The lesson he had to learn was he needed to know:

  • 1 job
  • 2 names
  • 3 obstacles

That is what brought him from fear to faith. And that is what can bring us to a place of peace as well. And it is the same lesson we can learn today.

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