18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit.
19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly.
20 But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.
21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
now (v.18) = “but” — to contrast Christ’s birth with those just listed.
betrothed (v.18) — In that culture, vows were said at the time of betrothal and a legal divorce was required to end the arrangement. There was usually a period, often as long as a year, between the betrothal and the time when the bride moved in with her husband and the marriage was consummated.
before they came together (v.18) — Mary was a virgin
found with child (v.18) — punishable by death (Deuteronomy 22:23)
with child (v.18) — her seed (Genesis 3:15)
of the Holy Spirit (v.18) — Luke 1:28-35
put her away privately (v.19) — divorce her, in accordance with Deuteronomy 24:1
Jesus (v.22) = “Jehovah saves”
He will save (v.21) — He and no other
His people (v.21) — Israel
The name that had been revealed to Mary was now repeated to Joseph. This name was to be given “because He will save His people from their sins” (v.21). The phrase”His people” must refer to the nation Israel to whom God had given promises in Jeremiah 31:31-14 that Messiah would come to grant forgiveness of sin. — Pentecost, page 54.
sins (v.21) — What the people thought they wanted was a Joshua who could reveal himself to this material Jerusalem as King, break the power of Rome, and set up an earthly Kingdom. The angel said the deeper trouble was not that of the Roman yoke; or that they had been beaten in battle; the trouble with them was that they were sinners. — Morgan, page 14.
If Matthew 1:1-17 were all that could be said of His birth, He might then have had a legal right to the throne, but He could never have been He who was to redeem and save from sin. — Gaebelein, page 27.