It was one thing for Mary, who saw the angel Gabriel and was overshadowed by the Holy Spirit to have confidence that the growing child inside her belly was the Son of God.
It was quite another for Joseph, her betrothed, to take her word for it.
Contrary to the way we like to imagine “the olden days” intimate liaisons before marriage were just as common then as now. Betrothed couples were considered married in every way except physical consummation of the relationship. And not everyone waited for the final ceremony.
But Joseph knew it wasn’t him.
18 The birth of Jesus Christ came about this way: After His mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, it was discovered before they came together that she was pregnant by the Holy Spirit. 19 So her husband Joseph, being a righteous man, and not wanting to disgrace her publicly, decided to divorce her secretly.
20 But after he had considered these things, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because what has been conceived in her is by the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to name Him Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.”
Matthew 1: 18-21 HCSB
I’m sure Mary had told him the story. It had to sound crazy. It certainly didn’t make sense in any way he could wrap his head around.
Being a kind and righteous man, he decided to extricate himself from this messy situation as quietly as possible.
This single gesture reveals so much of his heart!
He could have made a public show of her, could have insisted on, at the least, she be shamed and never fit for marriage and at the worst, stoned to death for infidelity.
But instead he just wanted out.
God honored Joseph’s heart and gave him what he needed to embrace the truth of Mary’s explanation. And He revealed even more about the Child: His name would be Jesus (Yeshua-Deliverer, Savior) because He will save His people from their sins.
So he chose to remain, to trust, to join Mary in submitting to God’s will.
I really, really, really wish sometimes God would give me a dream or a vision or a visit from an Angel to confirm the inklings I have about what He may be doing in my life or the lives of my family.
I’ve never had a vision or visit although I’ve had a few dreams.
What I DO have is His Word, the testimony of His Spirit and a lifetime of experience that tells me His love endures forever.
Doubters may consider that blind trust.
I’m pretty sure many of Joseph’s buddies thought he was a fool for joining his life to the obviously unfaithful Mary’s.
But he held onto what the Lord revealed to him, just as I have to hold on to what the Lord reveals to me.
Walking in the dark by the light of His truth.
- Can you imagine the rumors flying around the village when Mary could no longer hide her condition? Put yourself in Joseph’s place. How tempted might it have been for him to try to find a way out?
- Have you ever been led by God to do something that seemed foolish, or worse, to others? Did you do it? Why or why not?
- The story of Christ’s birth is full of special messengers and extraordinary assurances to those intimately involved. Do you take these literally? Do you wish you could have such encounters?
- Joseph ultimately became the earthly father to God’s own son. What a privilege and what a responsibility! What do you see in these verses that might give us a clue as to why God chose him?
You are faithful and true. You lead me well even when I’m not sure of your Presence or the path. I stand in awe of how You use ordinary but willing people to bring about your extraordinary and eternal purposes.
What looks like blind trust to those who have not yet met Jesus is nothing like that at all. I can trust You because You have proven over and over and over that your intentions toward me are good, your heart is loving and your grace abundant and sufficient no matter where I must go.
Help me to remember Who You are and help me to cling fast to truth. Give me courage to make hard choices and follow wherever You lead.