Greetings In the Name of the Lord:
Matthew 1:18-21 (NLT)
18 This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. 19 Joseph, her fiancé, was a good man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly. 20 As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit.
21 And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
What would people say today about Mary and Joseph? Probably something like, “Oh those crazy kids!” Think about it for a moment, and put yourself in their shoes. They were young and engaged to be married, which in those days lasted for about a year. The arrangement was legally binding and in all cases they were married in every way except sexually. To end an engagement took a decree of divorce. So imagine what happened when the angel appeared to Mary and told her that she had been chosen to be the mother of Jesus. Remember that she was fourteen years old, was a virgin, and she is told she is going to be pregnant. Imagine what people would think, say, and react when they found out. For Mary to respond obediently to what God was calling her to do took courage and incredible faith. Now let’s consider Joseph’s response. At first, he was probably hurt thinking that Mary had been unfaithful to him. Most guys probably would have wanted to seek revenge. By law he could have had her stoned to death. However, Matthew tells us, “he was a good man…so he decided to divorce her privately.” If Joseph’s story had ended there he should have be commended, but this is where his story begins. The angel then appears to him and tells him not to be afraid to take Mary as his wife because the baby inside her was a God thing. Now if he does what God is calling him to do some will say that he was not a good man for taking advantage of Mary before the engagement was completed will implicate him. On the other hand, others will say that he is a fool for taking Mary as his wife after she had publicly disgraced him. The decision that he made, like Mary, took courage and incredible faith. Most of us today would probably look down our noses at them for fooling around and then lying about it using the story of angel as a cover up. What would you do if you were in Joseph and Mary’s shoes? Would you tell God “no way?” Would you over spiritualize it and say, “well I’ll have to pray about it.” Or would you step out in faith and be used by God to change the world?