“…Mary was engaged to be married to Joseph.” Matthew 1:18 NLT
Joseph had waited patiently for Mary to be his in every sense. The contract was signed and that meant marriage in Jesus’ day. To break it, there would need to be a divorce. He was preparing for his bride. Building the marriage room and probably working overtime to get it done. After all, he and his friends could not go to collect her until the preparations were complete. She and her maids were waiting to hear the shout that Joseph had arrived.
Instead she heard Gabriel. And, life for this couple was never the same.
Death loomed for Mary for you see adultery brought with it a death sentence. We are not told how far along in her pregnancy Mary was when she told her betrothed. She could have hid it easily. We know she was at least three months because after Gabriel appeared she immediately went to visit with her relative Elizabeth.
How did she tell him? How do you tell someone something so amazing and unbelievable? Joseph must have been in despair – heartbroken. What had his sweet Mary done? What was he to do? He loved her that was obvious. He wanted to break their engagement quietly so she wouldn’t be disgraced publicly. Good luck with that Joseph. Don’t forget how life in a small town works.
As I read Joseph’s story in Matthew, I just love that guy. My heart hurts for him and his broken heart and melts for him because of the tender, compassionate man he was. He was an average Joe chosen by God to do the hard thing. God knew Joseph well.
How he must have lain awake countless hours. As he dozed off and on during one of those nights of fitful sleep, God sent a messenger of peace – an angel to his dreams. “…Joseph, son of David, the angel said, ‘do not be afraid to go ahead with your marriage to Mary. For the child within her has been conceived by the Holy Spirit.’ ” Oh my word, how do you wrap your mind around that? Joseph probably didn’t but because of his willingness to move forward in faith he was rewarded by the revealing of God’s redemptive plan. “And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” NLT
“When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord commanded. He brought Mary home to be his wife.” “…her son was born. And Joseph named him Jesus.” NLT
We don’t hear about Joseph after Jesus’ twelfth birthday. We don’t get a lot of information about what kind of dad he was. The little bit we know tells us he was a kind, faithful carpenter who was given the opportunity to be a part of an event every devout Jew eagerly anticipated. The birth of the Messiah. How he must have gazed in the eyes of Jesus in wonder. At last God’s promises had been fulfilled and before him was the Child.
Thank you God for choosing Joseph to be Jesus’ earthly dad. For using an average Joe in Your amazing redemptive plan. Your choice of him confirms to us once again that you choose those of us who are willing to trust our future, our reputation, our lives to Your plan. How many ways can you reveal that to us? Thank you for your patience to do it over and over. Our hearts are filled with love for you Lord. Amen