Joseph from Nazareth, a descendent of David pledged to marry the virgin, Mary, received a personal message of hope from God. Delivered by an angel, Joseph understood God’s direction to fulfill his part in God’s divine plan.
The message to this local carpenter was the answer to a unique personal dilemma Joseph was struggling with at the time of the angel’s encounter.
And Joseph’s obedience would forever change the direction of our world!
Residents from Joseph’s small village of Nazareth (population approximately 200), located within the province of Galilee and a good five day walk from Jerusalem, all knew that Joseph was engaged to Mary, a Nazarene. However, far from Joseph’s doing, a predicament had occurred.
It was found that Virgin Mary was pregnant, though not to Joseph.
It seems Mary also had recently been visited by an angel. But this angel, Gabriel, offered Mary something quite unexpected during his visit:
Luke 1: 30-33 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God.You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
Mary, an obedient child of God, responded by saying:
Luke 1:38 “I am the Lord’s servant. May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.
Upon hearing the news regarding Mary’s situation, Joseph chose not to publicly disgrace her but planned to divorce quietly. At that time, Jewish custom stated that though their marriage ceremony had not yet been preformed nor the marriage consummated, the initial betrothal of a couple (normally made by the parents or families) already considered them binding as husband and wife.
Unfortunately, law also stated the only official way to divorce at this time in Israel was to go before local elders. In this situation, that board would consist of men from Nazareth. However, the act of applying to the elders would promote knowledge of Virgin Mary’s circumstances and most definitely would result in public humiliation.
There was also the likelihood Mary could be stoned to death.
Joseph, also faithful to the law, was a man of integrity evident through his devoted and kind heart. Joseph was no doubt weighing those undesirable scenarios about Mary heavily in his mind, directly preceding his dream from the angel.
Enter Joseph’s instruction from the angel.
Matthew 1:20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said,“Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
Thankfully, Joseph, son of David and faithful to the law, a man not wanting to expose the virgin to public disgrace, went against social norms and followed the Lord’s message. His consent to marry a pregnant woman he knew was not pregnant by him, surly aroused doubt in others about Joseph’s own innocence in the situation. But Joseph knew in his heart he was doing the right thing.
There was more Holy confirmation regarding the child Mary was carrying.
About this time, Mary went to the hill country in Judea to visit her cousin Elizabeth who was also with child. When the baby in Elizabeth’s womb heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.
Luke 1:42-45 In a loud voice she [Elizabeth] exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”
Elizabeth’s statement reveals the holiness of the child Mary is carrying by proclaiming the presence of the Lord within that child. This personal visit sheds more evidence to the fact that the child is not Joseph’s biological son. Exposing more agreement with the choice Joseph was making.
Yes, because Joseph was faithful, the message God sent though His angel was the direction Joseph knew he would follow—despite the whirlwind situation of a virgin conception.
Matthew 1:24-25 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.
Joseph and Mary’s obedience to the angel’s message was part of God’s divine plan for the arrival of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Praise be to God!
*For more information on the prophecy of the virgin conception click HERE.