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O Come, Let Us Adore Him 13: A Night Visitor to Joseph

O Come, Let Us Adore Him – Advent Day 13 – A Night Visitor to Joseph

Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” … When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus. (Matthew 1:18-21, 24-25, ESV)

Most of us would readily admit to the fact that our reputation is a pretty big deal to us; what people think of us really matters. Joseph was no different, as we can clearly see from the Scripture verses above. His betrothed becomes pregnant, and clearly it was not from him. How hard it would have been for him to believe her side of the story! An angel appeared and spoke to you? The Holy Spirit placed the child within you? The child you are carrying is the Son of God? Are you serious? This was tough news to swallow, and who could blame him for believing it to be impossible. 

With those thoughts in mind, Joseph believed he had no choice. In order to maintain his solid reputation as a good, godly young man, he would have to divorce Mary. Because he was a just man and didn’t wish any more shame to be brought on Mary, he decided to do it quietly. I’m sure he felt hurt and heartbroken as he faced what he believed to be a betrayal. But oh, how I love the compassion of our good Father in sending an angel to Joseph as well to clear the air and set things straight. 

Seeing an angel would make anyone awestruck, and, like Mary, Joseph was very accepting of all that the angel asked of him. But I think we can also gather that his character was such that he sought to obey and please the Lord. The task ahead for Joseph wouldn’t be easy. People would talk; people would question. His reputation would certainly suffer, but he was faithful in all that was requested of him. 

So much attention is given to Mary’s role in Jesus’ life, but until Joseph’s death, he also had a role that was tremendously difficult. As the leader of the family home, he would do his best to guide all his children—even Jesus. But he only took the role of His earthly father. Joseph could never match the perfection of Jesus’ heavenly Father; he would always fall short. 

The roles given to both Mary and Joseph were difficult, for sure, but they both received a tremendous blessing. We cannot imagine what it must have been like to raise God’s Son—a child without sin. But they both experienced a relationship known uniquely to them, one in which they knew Him as their child, and then becoming children to Him. No one else ever knew Him in both of these ways!

As we’ve been thinking on both Joseph and Mary, we’ve learned how their character was noticed by God. He recognized in both of them a willingness to be obedient under trying circumstances. They proved to be faithful in the task given to them and were blessed for their obedience in many ways. How might God look upon each of us, and what might He see that would qualify us for difficult tasks He wants to see accomplished in His kingdom work? We may feel that circumstances He brings into our lives are impossible—and that’s true, unless we surrender to Him and allow Him to equip us for the task at hand. May we be found faithful and obedient when He asks us to do difficult things.

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