The Best Laid Plans…
This pericope (Matthew 1:18-25 – a complete scene in a narrative) is a brief summary of the actual birth of Jesus, but the emphasis is on Joseph’s reaction to the news that Mary was pregnant, and the divine dream he had that encouraged him to follow through with his plans to marry Mary.
When Joseph discovered that Mary was pregnant he had thought about ‘divorcing’ her quietly so as to cause her no harm. Even though they were not ‘officially married’ (They had not had their ‘huppa’ – wedding ceremony), in the Jewish culture they were still considered married since they were engaged “kiddushin”. But the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and told him to take Mary home to be his wife because:
1. The child has been “fathered” by the Holy Spirit
2. They will have a boy
3. His name is to be Jesus
4. He will save His people from their sins
5. He will be referred to as “Immanuel” – God with us.
Joseph obeyed the angel and took Mary home to be his wife, and then the baby Jesus was born.
The practical applications of this story to our lives are threefold:
1. Our plans may be disrupted – just as Joseph and Mary’s were – but we need to trust the Lord and believe that the change of plans will be for our good and God’s glory.
2. Joseph was a man of faith. He was obedient, merciful, and faithfully raised Jesus in the ways of the Lord. The bottom line with Joseph and for us to emulate: He was faithful in walking in God’s will.
3. God’s providence once again directed the paths of Mary and Joseph, and all of the events surrounding the birth of Jesus, and the Lord will faithfully direct our paths as well.