Angel reading: Matthew 1:18-21
We meet the man, Joseph, who is entrusted to raise the Son of God. He is a compassionate and merciful man. He is also a very godly man who quickly follows ALL the Lord’s directions.
When we left our story yesterday, Mary had gone to see Elizabeth, her cousin who was pregnant for the first time in her old age. Mary had gone on this journey shortly after meeting Gabriel and having her womb filled by the Holy Spirit with the Son of God.
Joseph knows nothing of these happenings at this point in time. Mary didn’t run to him and tell him the good news. I wonder what he would have said if she had tried. Would he have believed her? Quite probably not.
Over the three months that Mary was with Elizabeth Joseph heard of Mary’s condition. This must have broken his heart. The woman he was to marry had stepped outside of their relationship and been with another man. In those days, doing so could cost a woman her life. It would certainly cost her reputation. But Joseph cared enough about Mary that he wanted to even spare her that humiliation.
I’m not sure how this would have worked. Would Joseph claim the child was his but that she didn’t please him and therefore give her a divorce? Did he expect the man who fathered her child to take her in marriage once she was released from her promise to him? Someone would have had to claim her if her reputation was to remain intact.
The fact that Joseph was even considering this option showed he was a man of compassion and mercy. It also showed that he truly loved Mary. Someone marrying for convenience or duty wouldn’t have been so tender towards her.
God chose His Son’s father with great care. When Joseph reacted with such compassion it must have pleased God’s heart. Before even knowing the truth behind the situation, Joseph demonstrated many characteristics that would be required in the care for His Son. God smiled. Then he addressed Joseph’s heart.
I wonder if Joseph had experienced dreams from the Lord before. The one he received he didn’t even ask for verification. He trusted the words he received without question. He didn’t ask for a sign. He didn’t ask Mary for her version of the events first. He didn’t even ask for an interpretation from some holy man. Instead, he acted on this dream and quickly married Mary.
By taking Mary as his wife he legitimized her pregnancy. He told the world that the child she was carrying was his son. He also laid to rest her fears. She didn’t have to find a way to tell him about her visitation. She didn’t have to plead with him to believe her. All she had to do was to let Joseph take on the mantle of husband and father to the child the Lord gave her.
Mary and her child were now under the protection of Joseph. Their ‘marriage relationship’ wouldn’t start though until AFTER Jesus was born. Mary would fill all the roles of wife but one. She still had to remain a virgin until after the Son of God entered into the world.
I wonder if Joseph thought about the things he would teach his son. Did he wonder if his Child would be different from other children? Did he think about the knowledge the Child might have? Did he wonder if He would look like him? Did Jesus have His father’s eyes as well as His Father’s eyes?
There are so many children today without fathers. Many come from broken homes where a father once resided. Many never knew their fathers. Some never knew either parent. And there are some who have a father not chosen by birth but by love. I pray for all the fathers who are chosen to care for a child ‘not of their loins’ that they would welcome their child as willingly and lovingly as Joseph did his Son.
I also pray for the fathers who are chosen by birth that they too would display the love of Joseph. May their children find love in their father’s eyes.
Father God, thank You for giving me the father that You did. He is not perfect but I KNOW I am loved! Thank You for being my Father too. Let me love as You love. Help me also be quick to listen when You speak. Help me know Your voice so well that no other voice can deceive me.
What did Jesus look like as a baby? I would LOVE to see His ‘album’ while sharing ‘bench time’.