Matthew 1:18-25 – “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.”
During this time of year, we mostly focus on Mary and Baby Jesus. We talk about Joseph, but do we really think about all that he went through during this time?
In my heart, I believe that Joseph truly loved Mary. My reason for that – he could have had her stoned because she was pregnant before they were married. He had every right to do that under the Law. But he had in mind to put her away privately and just not be associated with her any longer – kinda like a premarital divorce. We don’t really get that in our society because that’s not how things work. But back then, when the couple got engaged, they were essentially married but could not come together until they had the ceremony. Different, but that’s the way I understand that they did things.
So Joseph had planned to take care of things the best way that he knew how. But God had other plans. And what I love about the way God did things is that He didn’t conform to society’s expectations and rules. He wasn’t concerned about what people thought. And Joseph followed His leading. He dealt with all these things by the grace of God. He faced ridicule and bad mouthing and gossip and mean stares and questioning and all the other vices that we, as a society, interject on someone acting outside the norm.
It’s hard to think about and/or imagine how I would have reacted to this scenario. People probably thought they were crazy when Joseph and Mary both told them they had been visited by an angel separately. Remember, it had been about 500 years since anyone had heard from God and now He was speaking to this young woman and a carpenter for lands sake?! Not a likely story in most people’s eyes.
Yet, this did not deter Joseph. He did what God told him to do when He told him to do it. He was obedient.
My challenge for you today is to just do it. If God is asking you to do something crazy, just do it. If He is telling you to jump off the limb, just do it. If He is telling you to reach beyond your grasp, just do it. If He is leading you into uncharted waters, just do it. He cared for this carpenter and this young woman in the harshest environment I can imagine for these two. He walked with them to Bethlehem. He was beside them when people scorned the young couple. He was encouraging to them both when things seemed more than they could bear. He provided for them in the most dire of circumstances. And now here we are, 2000 years later analyzing their choices, their heart and their courage and seeing His hand at work in their life. All they were trying to do was be obedient. You never know how or what God is going to do and who it may effect. But if you never put yourself out there and trust Him, you will never find out. Just do it.