Sunday, December 13, 2009

Joseph Learns About Jesus
(Matthew 1:18-26)

Who was Joseph--God’s choice for the earthly father of Jesus? Why did God choose him? The Bible does not tell us much. However, God must have been confident in Joseph’s faithfulness for God to entrust the paternal care of His beloved Son. It seems pretty certain that God selected both Mary and Joseph carefully. Matthew describes Joseph as a son of David. Luke traced the genealogy of Jesus (Luke 3:23-38) beginning with His identification as the son of Joseph.

Mary and Joseph was betrothed to be married, similar to a modern-day engagement but was much more serious. That word has a different connotation in today’s language. The relationship of Mary and Joseph was one of pledged commitment with legal and social implications; however, the couple was not yet married, nor had they consummated their union. When Joseph learned of Mary’s pregnancy, he considered how to end the relationship. Joseph could have done it in an embarrassing and public manner, but his righteous and charitable spirit impressed him to dismiss her privately so as not to embarrass her.

Before Joseph could carry out his decision, an angel of the Lord intervened with the truth of Mary’s pregnancy. He told Joseph the baby was the Child of God, conceived by the Holy Spirit. God wanted Joseph to have no reservations about Mary, but to take her into his house and care for her. Joseph demonstrated obedience by responding to God’s instructions to accept Mary. Joseph and Mary were given the privilege of naming the child. The angel told Joseph to name the baby Jesus, which is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew “Joshua,” meaning “the Lord saves,” or “the Lord is salvation.” The Child would be named this because He would save His people from their sins.

Scripture does not mention Joseph after Jesus’ childhood. We can only speculate as to Joseph’s life span. Many historians think that Joseph died sometime between Jesus’ visit to the temple and the beginning of His public ministry at age 30. We know that Joseph was chosen by God to impart human influence on the life of Jesus. Whom has God chosen you to influence? Pray that God will use you to build lasting spiritual foundations in the lives of others as you obey His leading in your life.

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