Based on Matthew 1:18–25
Joseph was heartbroken. He knew he should be angry; the cut of betrayal was not a wound that would heal quickly. But despite the hurt, he did not want harm to come to his betrothed. He truly loved Mary. He thought she loved him too, which was why he found her predicament so difficult to understand.
He decided the best course of action would be to call off the engagement as quietly as possible. Hopefully this would protect Mary until her family could devise a better plan. It was not a perfect solution, but it was the best he could do. He could not continue the engagement, not with his betrothed expecting a child that did not belong to him.
He sighed deeply. Mary would have a hard life. He could not shield her from that. And he could have made her happy, he knew it. He would have been a good husband to her. But it was not meant to be.
He grew tired of mulling it over and over in his head. He knew his decision was fair, more than reasonable, and yet…
He reined in his apprehensions. He would sleep on the news tonight, then take care of the details in the morning.
He couldn’t rest at first, tossing, turning, unable to turn off his anxious thoughts. Finally fatigue won out and he fell into a deep slumber.
In his dreams an angel appeared to him 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.”
He awoke stunned. Could these words be true? Was his betrothed the Lord’s chosen?
He knew the prophecy regarding the Messiah. “The Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14). But his Mary? Was she the virgin spoken of in the Scriptures?
It was unbelievable, and yet the angel’s words matched Mary’s story of her own angelic encounter. He’d never had reason to doubt her before.
The angel’s words penetrated his mind and his soul, overpowering his doubts. It was true. His Mary was the one chosen to give birth to the Immanuel, God with us. And he, Joseph, had been chosen to be the child’s father.
He would do what the angel said. He would not break off the engagement with his beloved. He would raise this special child, protect it, care for it, and love it as his own. May God be with him, he would do it! And may God give him the strength and wisdom to carry it through.
Joseph did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he had no physical union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.
Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him. You come to the help of those who gladly do right, who remember your ways. …Yet, O Lord, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand. (Isaiah 64:4–5, 8)
An excerpt from Sara’s upcoming book, Everyday Jesus.
All photos courtesy of pixabay.com.