Can you image how Joseph’s family felt? Can you imagine what the residents of the town thought? You can only guess what the religious leaders were thinking. You can only image the laughing and mockery, rumours and gossip, scolding and criticism. And perhaps we should envision it.
Does he really expect us to believe that he wasn’t the one who got Mary pregnant? I’ve heard lots of excuses in my time, but never ‘I was overshadowed by the Holy Spirit.’
In reality, those people would be no more inclined to accept her explanation than we would be if we were told it today. And those folks would have been just as happy to offer some more plausible explanations. Those people were not that dissimilar to us, even though they lived in a totally different era and context.
We can’t blame Joseph for wanting to get away – from the mockery, gossip, and shame. We can’t blame him for deciding to divorce her. We can’t blame him for wanting to get out of his engagement to a woman who was definitely not a virgin. He was, after all, a just and innocent man. So, at the very least, he intended to do it quietly.
It required nothing short of supernatural intervention to convince him to stay.
Matthew 1:20 “In a dream, an angel of the Lord appeared to him, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.'”
When Joseph awoke, he remembered the dream, which he believed was God’s own revelation and direction. He put all thoughts of divorce aside, married Mary, and raised her son as his own.
Imagine Mary’s delight, happiness, and sense of well-being when Joseph informed her that he loved her, believed her, and accepted her. Imagine Mary’s joy as Joseph said, “My wife,” and then took the baby in his arms and said, “My son.” Consider how his obedience influenced Mary, how his faith enriched his marriage, and how his love made all the difference.
We can be confident that the rumour did not stop when Joseph said, “I believe her.” We may be assured that neither his dream nor her visitation persuaded anyone. The gossip did not change her mind because he added his testimony to hers. Rather, I believe it increased even more.
“I can’t believe he’s so naive.”
“I guess he can’t come up with a better explanation than a dream.”
“If this isn’t proof that he’s the one who got her pregnant, I don’t know what is!”
But Joseph was a man of faith; a man who decided to believe God’s message and fulfil God’s command; a man whose decision to accept Mary also meant accepting her disgrace. He knew God had spoken and he understood exactly 26what God had spoken, and nothing could persuade or compel him to reject what God had made plainly evident.
We should be profoundly grateful for Joseph and be asking God to give us a faith like Joseph; a trust like Joseph; the ability to hear God’s Word and act upon it, in spite of the consequences.
“Lord, give me a faith like Joseph.”