"Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as His mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost."
Today: The Order of Events and Jesus’ Birth
“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise.”
Here is the account of Jesus’ birth as the Lord had Matthew write it. Every time we pick up our Bibles to read, we recall that these very words are God’s, and He used His men to transcribe them for us (2 Peter 1:19-21). These are the facts about Jesus’ incarnation that we need to know.
“When as His mother Mary was espoused to Joseph.”
We must understand that these events happened while Joseph and Mary were engaged (betrothed) to be married. Their marriage will be legal, and their betrothal will last about a year (ten to twelve months) before they come together as man and wife. Betrothal means that the couple was “promised in marriage” (Thayer).
“Espoused to Joseph … to contract, or betroth, refers to the previous marriage agreement, in which the parties mutually bound themselves to each other; without which, no woman was ever married among the Jews”  (Clarke).
If a Jewish girl were to become pregnant during this time of betrothal, she is seen as “unfaithful,” and her “husband” had a legal right to divorce her (“put her away.”)
“Among the Jews, the espousal, though the marriage had not been consummated, was considered as perfectly legal and binding on both sides; and hence a breach of this contract was considered as a case of adultery, and punished exactly in the same way” (Clarke).
“Before they came together.”
Note this important word, “Before.”
These events were going on “before” Mary and Joseph “came together,” and lived in the same house as husband and wife. In fact, Mary was at the time still living in her father’s home during their espousal.
“She was found with child of the Holy Ghost.”
She was “discovered” to be with child. Mary had previously agreed with God’s plan of bringing the Christ-child into the world through her.
“And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her” (Luke 1:38).
Being “with child” was becoming increasingly difficult for her to cover up, and she was “discovered” to be with child. Mary had done nothing wrong to become pregnant. She was the one chosen to bear the Messiah by God’s gracious choice (Isaiah 7:14). Mary’s humanly impossible pregnancy was accomplished by the “power of the Highest” (Luke 1:35). It was the Holy Spirit who brought God’s power upon her. Think of it, for God, the Creator, to send a child, His Son, into the world without a man’s involvement was not difficult for Him. And now the “made of a woman” Savior is born (Galatians 4:4).
The Virgin Birth was a problematic concept for Jesus’ enemies to grapple with. They accused Him of being born of “fornication.” They asked Jesus about His Father.
“Then said they unto Him, Where is thy Father? Jesus answered, Ye, neither know me nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also” (John 8:19).
“Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to Him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God” (John 8:41).
At that time, Jesus’ enemies, suspicious of Him, lied about Mary. The rumor was born that Mary was made pregnant by one of the Roman soldiers in their area. We can expect nothing less from those who hate our Savior. Matthew shows us how Mary’s pregnancy was of God. This birth had been predicted for centuries (Isaiah 7:14; 9:6). And now it is fulfilled, just as God promised!
“Glory to God in the highest!”
Quote: “Behold, a virgin shall be with child and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us” (Matthew 1:23).
 J.H. Thayer, Thayer’s Greek Definitions, the electronic version in eSword. Matthew 1:18.
 Adam Clarke, Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible, the electronic version in eSword. Matthew 1:18.
 See the Cambridge Bible, the electronic version in eSword. Matthew 1:18.