This is how the birth of Jesus Christ took place. When Mary his mother was engaged to Joseph, before they were married, she became pregnant by the Holy Spirit. Joseph her husband was a righteous man. Because he didn’t want to humiliate her, he decided to call off their engagement quietly. As he was thinking about this, an angel from the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because the child she carries was conceived by the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you will call him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” Now all of this took place so that what the Lord had spoken through the prophet would be fulfilled:
Look! A virgin will become pregnant and give birth to a son, And they will call him, Emmanuel (Emmanuel means “God with us.”)
When Joseph woke up, he did just as an angel from God commanded and took Mary as his wife. But he didn’t have sexual relations with her until she gave birth to a son. Joseph called him Jesus (Matthew 1:18-25, Common English Bible).
I know this is a matter of opinion and some people might be not agree with me, but with the exception of Jesus himself, Joseph is the most stand-up guy in history.
He finds out his fiance is pregnant with a child that he knows is not his. Most of us would not have been quiet, Joseph was.
Joseph could have had Mary stoned as an adulterer. The thought would at least have crossed our mind. We would know that she deserved it and might even be ready for it to happen. Joseph wanted no part in it. He was ready to simply walk away.
I have had some wild dreams in my life. I have also had dreams where I was pretty sure God was speaking to me. I don’t remember any dreams with angels. If I had one of those dreams, I fear I would have put this one in the first category, a wild dream. I am afraid I would have thought, “This is just a dream” and then ignored it and gone on with my plans and completely ignored God. Joseph didn’t walk away. Joseph heard, he listened, he recognized God as who was giving him direction and he followed to the letter.
Yesterday we talked about Jesus’ genealogy and how he was a descendant of David through Joseph. If Joseph had gone out and made a big deal of Jesus not being his child and then walked away, people would have accepted his story at face value. Mary, at best would have been made an outcast, publicly humiliated and forced to continue living with her family, most likely for the rest of her life. That would have meant Jesus would have had no paternal genealogy and therefore no tie to David. With no tie to David, Jesus could not have been the Messiah.
Some years ago, Michael Card wrote a wonderful song titled “Joseph’s Song. And, while no one can say for sure, I think Card’s lyrics show at least some of what had to be going through Joseph’s head.
How could it be this baby in my arms
Sleeping now, so peacefully
The Son of God, the angel said
How could it be
Lord I know He’s not my own
Not of my flesh, not of my bone
Still Father let this baby be
The son of my love
Father show me where I fit into this plan of yours
How can a man be father to the Son of God
Lord for all my life I’ve been a simple carpenter
How can I raise a king, How can I raise a king
He looks so small, His face and hands so fair
And when He cries the sun just seems to disappear
But when He laughs it shines again
How could it be.
I think my favorite line of the song is, “Lord I know He’s not my own, not of my flesh, not of my bone. Still Father let this baby be the son of my love.”
I have a friend who is helping raise his wife’s children. He may not be their birth father, but if you ask those kids, he is their dad. Could it be that this is how Joseph felt?
Perhaps, but I believe it is even greater. Card’s line in “Joseph’s Song” give credence to an understanding of total humility and a man who had to feel overwhelmed. “Lord for all my life I’ve been a simple carpenter. How can I raise a king, how can I raise a king…”
Today we often hear people say they aren’t worthy. I can’t help but think, Joseph had to have those feelings. Yet despite his unworthiness, he proved to be just the man God wanted and needed.
How has God spoken to you? How have you been exactly what God needed you to be?
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
Joy and Peace,
Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved.