READ MATTHEW ONE
verses eighteen through twenty-five
Every generation has led us to these verses. These verses are bursting with hope, joy, and anticipation. It is my prayer that our weeks of study have grown in you a hopeful anticipation, and that you come to these verses with eagerness and satisfaction. The much-anticipated generation of the Messiah has come.
God chose Joseph to be the father of His Son, Jesus. In Matthew one, what do you learn about Joseph? Name a few things.
Joseph’s engagement has obviously not gone as he anticipated. Mary, his betrothed, is pregnant.
Verse nineteen names two characteristics that Joseph possesses that cause him to choose to separate from Mary out of the public eye. What are these two characteristics?
Because the Law commanded sexual purity and punished sexual impurity, Joseph’s sense of justice is important here. He knows that God’s Law overrides any subjective feelings he has about Mary’s pregnancy, should it be the result of immorality. The Law insists that there are consequences for her apparent impurity.
But Joseph is also unwilling to put Mary to shame. Though the Law would incite a public hearing for Mary and her unexpected, unwed pregnancy, Joseph is not willing to subject her to that kind of shame. And the result of his eagerness for justice combined with his unwillingness to shame her, is that he resolves to separate from her quietly.
Joseph is visited by an angel of the Lord in a dream. What does the angel tell him? How does Joseph respond?
Joseph has feet that are quick to obey the Lord’s commands. In a painful, confusing, and complex situation, Joseph heeds the words of the Lord. He takes Mary as his wife and resolves to raise the child she is carrying – the child that did not come from his own body – as his son.
Mary is rightly renowned in church history for her obedience to the Lord’s call on her life. But Joseph is more easily overlooked. We are going to look at Mary’s obedience tomorrow, but for today, consider Joseph. Consider his love for the Law of God, his likely upbringing as a faithful Jew, and his anticipation of marriage to a woman similarly raised. In this light, his obedience is astounding.
I think Joseph knew something that we would all do well to remember: all of our personal disappointments pale in comparison to the promise of the Messiah. As a faithful Israelite, Joseph knew the promises of God that said a Messiah, a Savior, would come. He knew that Israel’s salvation was on the horizon, and he did not let his vision for how his own life would play out eclipse that promise. Fixing his eyes on the promises of God, he was empowered and emboldened to walk in obedience.
May the same be said of you and me.
What stands out to you about Joseph? Make a few notes by his name on the family tree of Christ.
Why do you think Joseph was included in the family tree of Jesus?
PRAY & REFLECT
Reflect on personal disappointments you have allowed to overshadow the promises of God. Take them to the Lord in prayer. Ask Him for eyes that are fixed on Him, regardless of your own disappointments.