Introduction: During this year’s Advent season, I am writing a weekly blog post with a story from the Bible, followed by a few thoughts and questions to contemplate / think about during the week. May this be a blessing to you throughout your time leading up to Christmas.
Here is the link to Week 1: Advent 2019 – Week 1
Here is the link to Week 2: Advent 2019 – Week 2
Week 3 Reading: Matthew 1:18-25
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, to whom she was engaged, was a righteous 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.”
22 All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord’s message through his prophet:
23 “Look! The virgin will conceive a child!
She will give birth to a son,
and they will call him Immanuel,
which means ‘God is with us.’”
24 When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife. 25 But he did not have sexual relations with her until her son was born. And Joseph named him Jesus.
(Matthew 1:18-25 NLT)
Let’s spend some time this week with Joseph, the step-father of Jesus.
Verse 19 tells us Joseph was a righteous man – he had integrity and virtue, and purposed to live his life so as to honor God in all ways. The idea here is that God was nodding with pleasure and agreement about the way Joseph was living his life.
We see this kindness and character in Joseph when he found out Mary was pregnant. Rather than publicly shaming her, he chose to break off their engagement quietly. He knew she would have enough humiliation without his heaping disgrace on her as well.
While Joseph had one plan, God had another. The angel appeared and told Joseph to take Mary to be his wife. Instead of quietly walking away from the disgrace, God asked Joseph to join Mary as an innocent man, bearing under the disgrace and looks and murmurs on everyday life as step-father to God Incarnate, God with us.
And what was Joseph’s response? When he woke up from the dream, he obeyed and took Mary as his wife, and kept her a virgin until after Jesus was born.
Some thoughts to ponder this week:
- Sometimes God asks us to stand in the gap for others, to share their burden… sometimes that’s messy and we get dirt on us in the process, as Joseph did for Mary. Are you willing to do so, or are you more concerned about how other people see you and what they say about you?
- When God speaks to you (through His Word, through dreams, or otherwise), what is your response? To tell others about the encounter, or to obey?
- Even after Joseph took Mary as his wife, he kept Mary a virgin until after Jesus was born. What does a life of integrity and righteousness look like in your life, when no one else is looking or watching? What is holding you back from living that life?