The first chapter of the gospel of Matthew surprisingly starts with a genealogy.
After fifteen verses about who fathered what son and after mentioning a few unexpected mothers, we get verse sixteen:
16 and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ. 
Verse seventeen then summarizes the royal genealogical record Matthew highlighted, reinforcing his opening verse statement that Jesus Christ is officially part of the promises made to Abraham back in Genesis and King David in 2 Samuel.
Then, Matthew explains the mystery of why he did not call Joseph the father of Jesus Christ.
From Genealogies to Dreams: Obeying God | Matthew 1:18-25 | Explanation
In the days of Joseph and Mary, the betrothal period was just as important, if not more important, than the marriage ceremony. The bride remained in her parent’s home during the betrothal period until the marriage ceremony took place. However, the betrothal was legally binding and could only be broken by a divorce. (verse 19)
Further, to divorce, one had to prove their betrothed had been unfaithful.
Imagine Joseph’s surprise when he found out Mary was pregnant! (verse 18)
At first, Joseph did not believe the child was from the Holy Spirit. (verse 19)
What else do you learn about Joseph in verse nineteen?
Joseph had decided on how to handle the situation.
But then God intervened.
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 angel of the Lord assured Joseph that Mary had not been unfaithful to him. Rather, Mary’s pregnancy is from the Holy Spirit’s activity. Instead, this pregnancy was of divine origin.
21 [Mary] will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
List the three things Joseph is told about the child from verse twenty-one.
This is not a normal birth or a normal child. This Jesus has a special function to save his people from their sins.
This special function refers to being saved from the consequences of sin. A clear fulfillment of God’s promises of forgiveness, restoration, and renewal throughout Scripture.
Matthew then inserts a reference to a prophecy from Isaiah 7:14:
Joseph had considered divorcing Mary for infidelity before he went to sleep.
Yet God tells Joseph to proceed with the marriage and adopt the divine child as his own.
Further, Joseph is to name the child Jesus because this child is the one spoken of in Isaiah 7:14.
Describe the emotions Joseph experienced in learning Mary was pregnant to later receiving this revelatory dream.
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. 
What does Joseph’s response to this revelatory dream reveal about Joseph’s faith?
From Genealogies to Dreams: Obeying God | Matthew 1:18-25 | Application
I recently asked my mother about how she and my dad met.
She shared that her coworker had been telling her he had a guy for her.
Mom finally told him, “Put up or shut up!”
On the first date, Dad shared his faith with Mom, which amazed her.
Sixty years later, they are still married and still worshipping the Lord.
Their marriage has had difficulties, just like many biblical marriages. But they have remained faithful.
I applaud them for remaining faithful to their vows before God.
Do you know the story of how your parents met? Describe it if you do.
What trials or challenges did they face before they were married? After they were married?
How might these challenges have strained or strengthened their relationship with each other? With God?
How can Matthew 1:18-25 help you understand challenges in your own life?
Take a moment to read the second stanza from the hymn written by Fred Pratt Green called Long Ago, Prophets Knew.
How does this verse relate to Matthew’s telling of Joseph’s point of view about Jesus?
What next steps do you need to take today to welcome Jesus Christ, Immanuel (God with us) into your daily experience?
Matthew’s opening chapter refers to Jesus as:
- Son of David
- Son of Abraham
- Immanuel (God with us)
What do these various names reveal to you about God’s love for you, His creation?