December 14, 2016
When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. Matthew 1:24
Today, an engagement can end by simply returning the ring. But for Mary and Joseph, the pre-marital pledge was binding and could only be broken by divorce. Having discovered that Mary was pregnant, Joseph "had in mind to divorce her quietly." That's when an angel came to convince him otherwise. She had not been unfaithful, the angel explained. Her child was "from the Holy Spirit." The son would be named Jesus. He would "save his people from their sins."
Easy to understand now, isn't it? The Virgin Birth is an essential doctrine. Jesus was fully-man and fully-God. In His being man, He lost none of His deity. In being God, He lost none of His humanness. He had to be God to become the sinless sacrifice. He had to be man to die in our place. Two thousand years later, I type these truths so matter-of-factly. But Joseph had to take it all by faith.
Certainly, God did not choose just any woman to be the mother of His son. Nor did he choose any man to be Jesus' earthly father and mentor. Joseph was a "righteous man" and a man of great faith. Without a modicum of tangible evidence, he accepted God's Word spoken through the angel and took Mary home as his wife. Imagine the ridicule. Imagine the sneers. Imagine the judgment. Imagine the faith of Joseph!
Father, may we learn from the obedience of Joseph. No, we don't have an angel delivering Your message, but we have Your Word. May we obey it with the radical faith of Joseph. In Jesus' name. Amen.