The Virgin Birth Consummated
And Joseph arose from his sleep, and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took her as his wife, and kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus. (1:24–25)
That Joseph arose from his sleep indicates that the revelatory dream had come to him while he slept (cf. v. 20). Such unique, direct communication from God was used on other occasions to reveal Scripture (see Gen. 20:3; 31:10–11; Num. 12:6; 1 Kings 3:5; Job 33:14–16). It should be noted that all six New Testament occurrences of onar (“to dream”) are in Matthew and concern the Lord Jesus Christ (see 1:20; 2:12–13, 19, 22; 27:19).
We know nothing of Joseph’s reaction, except that he immediately obeyed, doing as the angel of the Lord commanded him. We can imagine how great his feelings of amazement, relief, and gratitude must have been. Not only would he be able to take his beloved Mary as his wife with honor and righteousness, but he would be given care of God’s own Son while He was growing up.
That fact alone would indicate the depth of Joseph’s godliness. It is inconceivable that God would entrust His Son into a family where the father was not totally committed and faithful to Him.
We know nothing else of Joseph’s life except his taking the infant Jesus to the Temple for dedication (Luke 2:22–33), his taking Mary and Jesus into Egypt to protect Him from Herod’s bloody edict and the return (Matt. 2:13–23), and his taking his family to the Passover in Jerusalem when Jesus was twelve (Luke 2:42–52). We have no idea when Joseph died, but it could have been well before Jesus began His public ministry. Obviously it was before Jesus’ crucifixion, because from the cross Jesus gave his mother into the care of John (John 19:26).
Apparently the marriage ceremony, when Joseph took her as his wife, was held soon after the angel’s announcement. But he kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son. Matthew makes it clear that she remained a virgin until she gave birth, implying that normal marital relations began after that time. The fact that Jesus’ brothers and sisters are spoken of numerous times in the gospels (Matt. 12:46; 13:55–56; Mark 6:3; etc.) prove that Mary did not remain a virgin perpetually, as some claim.
As a final act of obedience to God’s instruction through the angel, Joseph called His name Jesus, indicating that He was to be the Savior (cf. v. 21).
The supernatural birth of Jesus is the only way to account for the life that He lived. A skeptic who denied the virgin birth once asked a Christian, “If I told you that child over there was born without a human father, would you believe me?” The believer replied, “Yes, if he lived as Jesus lived.” The greatest outward evidence of Jesus’ supernatural birth and deity is His life.
1:24–25. The dream that had begun for Joseph in verse 20 ends in these verses with him waking and choosing to obey everything the angel had told him to do. This fine man had learned to “trust and obey.”
24, 25. The story is concluded as follows: Rising from sleep Joseph did as the angel of the Lord had directed him, and took his wife into his home, but had no sexual relations with her until she had given birth to a son; and he named him Jesus.
The meaning of the words “took his wife into his home” becomes clear when this expression is compared with verse 18: “before they had begun to live together.” See on that verse and also on verse 20. Though Joseph and Mary were now together in the same home, they had no sexual relations with each other until Mary had given birth to Jesus. Why this was so is not related. Could this decision have been motivated by the couple’s high regard for that which had been conceived? Or did they abstain to be able to refute every allegation that Joseph himself was the father of the child? Whatever it was that prompted the couple to refrain from having sexual intercourse, there is every reason to suppose that after the child’s birth the abstention did not continue. This conclusion cannot be based merely upon the negative plus “until.” That wording does not always introduce an event (in this case: she gave birth to a son) whereby the earlier situation (the couple had no sexual relations) is reversed (they now begin to have sexual relations). Nevertheless, it is also true that frequently, in such cases, a complete reversal in the situation is suggested. Each case must be judged on its own merits. In the present instance the case against Mary’s perpetual virginity is strengthened by these considerations: a. According to both the Old and the New Testament sexual intercourse for married couples is divinely approved (Gen. 1:28; 9:1; 24:60; Prov. 5:18; Ps. 127:3; 1 Cor. 7:5, 9). Of course, even here, as in all things, self-control should be exercised. Incontinence is definitely condemned (1 Cor. 7:5; Gal. 5:22, 23). But no special sanctity attaches to total abstention or celibacy. b. We are definitely told that Jesus had brothers and sisters, evidently together with him members of one family (Matt. 12:46, 47; Mark 3:31, 32; 6:3; Luke 8:19, 20; John 2:12; 7:3, 5, 10; Acts 1:14). c. Luke 2:7 informs us that Jesus was Mary’s “firstborn.” Though in and by itself this third argument may not be sufficient to prove that Jesus had uterine brothers, in connection with arguments a. and b. the evidence becomes conclusive. The burden of proof rests entirely on those who deny that after Christ’s birth Joseph and Mary entered into all the relationships commonly associated with marriage.
Joseph, having risen from sleep, did exactly as the angel had directed him. Not only did he take his wife home with him but when the child was born he named him Jesus. Of course, in doing this, Joseph and Mary acted in perfect harmony (cf. Luke 1:31, 38).
1:24 As a result of the angel’s intervention, Joseph abandoned his plan to divorce Mary. He continued to recognize their betrothal until Jesus’ birth, after which he married her.
1:25 The teaching that Mary remained a virgin all of her life is disproved by the consummation of their marriage mentioned in this verse. Other references which indicate that Mary had children by Joseph are Matthew 12:46; 13:55, 56; Mark 6:3; John 7:3, 5; Acts 1:14; 1 Corinthians 9:5; and Galatians 1:19.
In taking Mary as his wife, Joseph also took her Child as his adopted Son. This is how Jesus became legal heir to the throne of David. In obedience to the angelic visitor, he called the Baby’s name Jesus.
Thus the Messiah-King was born. The Eternal One entered time. The Omnipotent became a tiny Infant. The Lord of glory veiled that glory in a human body, and “in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Col. 2:9).
 MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1985). Matthew (Vol. 1, pp. 21–22). Chicago: Moody Press.
 Weber, S. K. (2000). Matthew (Vol. 1, p. 19). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
 Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Gospel According to Matthew (Vol. 9, pp. 144–145). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.
 MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 1206). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.