December 18 – Matthew 1:18-21. The Honor of Joseph.

Monday, December 19, 2011

December 18 – Matthew 1:18-21. The Honor of Joseph.

This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. 

But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

Gabriel had already told Mary she was to be the mother of the Son of God.  While she was processing on the wonder of it all with Elizabeth, Joseph had no idea what was happening.  Most men I know wouldn’t be terribly surprised that he had been left out of the planning.  But, when he needed to know, it wasn’t Mary who told him what had happened, but Gabriel.  I can’t imagine the conversation that would have occurred if it had been up to her.  How do you explain to someone who thinks you’ve betrayed them that God was in the middle of the entire episode.

Mary and Joseph had been pledged in marriage … a contract that was as strong as marriage.  He was willing to let her out of the contract quietly and not expose her.  He was honorable in all things.  Her honor was more important to him than a contract.

When Gabriel spoke with Joseph, all of a sudden the story changed.  He was not only going to fulfill the contract with Mary, but he was responsible for raising God’s son … for keeping him safe as he grew to be a man, to love him and give him a human childhood so that this young man could save the earth.

It wasn’t going to be easy, yet Joseph was still honorable.  What God asked him to do, he would do.