How would you feel if you were Joseph? This man was legally Mary’s husband, but they had not yet celebrated or consummated their marriage. Think about how you might respond to the news that your wife was pregnant and you knew there was no way you were the father? Personally, I suspect my first reaction would include feelings of anger, betrayal, confusion and more, not necessarily in that order.
Matthew tells the story. I have emphasized potions for you to think about. Try to read slowly and imagine yourself in his proverbial shoes.
1:18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. 19 And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly. 20 But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying,
“Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
22 Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which translated means, “God with us.” 24 And Joseph awoke from his sleep and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took Mary as his wife, 25 but kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus.
Wow! Joseph was the man for the hour and the task ahead. God chose him to be the earthly father figure for the savior of the word. We often think about the shame Mary had put on her. And yet neither one of them could hide in the small village where everyone knows your name.
I can only imagine the emotional, spiritual and physical weights Joseph carried by choosing to accept the invitation to cooperate with the Creators plan. Abba was gracious though, because he gave Joseph an unforgettable encounter in the form of a supernatural dream. The young man’s personal intimacy with God allowed him to recognize the invitation was from Creator himself. God knew Joseph was someone he could entrust with a crucial part of His divine plan to redeem all of creation.
I wonder how many times over the rest of his life, Joseph replayed that dream in his mind. And because Joseph believed and obeyed, that encounter was not the only one he had in his adventure called life. (Keep reading in Matthew to learn, or be reminded.)
What about us? Do we recognize when Creator invites us into his plans, large or small? Or are the “distractions of life” to bold for us to notice the often still small voice? Are we people Abba can trust when he offers us those invitations?
The Good News is, regardless of how we answers those questions right now, the path to choose runs straight through Jesus. God became human to reunite us with our Creator. “And looking at them Jesus said to them, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26
May Abba bless you with being attentive and faithful like Joseph as you celebrate the divine plans and invitations of our Creator.