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.
(Matthew 1:20 ESV)
Yesterday we read that Joseph had a dream in which an angel appeared to him. Today we learn what the angel said.
The angel told Joseph that Mary’s baby was from the Holy Spirit, something that Mary had been told by the angel Gabriel sometime earlier [Luke 1:26-35]. Perhaps Mary had told all this to Joseph but he wasn’t sure he should believe her. This dream would have confirmed Mary’s story.
Notice also that the angel calls Joseph son of David. God had promised to David that there would someday be a descendant born to him in the most inconceivable way – to a virgin [Isaiah 7:13-14]. This dream would have reminded Joseph of this prophecy and that he was descended from David. Therefore Mary’s story wasn’t completely out of the question.
But it still took a lot of faith for Joseph to go through with the marriage to Mary. They would not have an easy time of it. There would certainly be gossip. There would probably be scoffers. Just like today, there were people back then who believed and those who didn’t. Some doubters would be more passive, some more aggressive.
Yet Joseph is told “do not fear to take Mary as your wife“. When God gives us direction it can sometimes seem scary. Moving to a new location. Taking a new job. Getting involved in ministry. Going overseas to be a missionary. The things that God tells us to do are almost never comforting. They involve risk. They involve faith.
Even the simple act of going to church on Sunday can involve risk. Every week there are several police officers assigned to the campus of the church I attend because we constantly get bomb threats. I even get occasional death threats from people in response to this sparsely-read blog. Living for God, even in the most simplest of manners, involves risk.
We already know that Joseph was very concerned about Mary and her reputation [Matthew 1:19]. If they went through with the wedding, she would still need to be protected and defended. She needed a strong man of faith to be her husband. I suspect that is exactly the kind of man Joseph was. And that’s also why God chose him to be her husband.
It takes faith to live for God in a world that rejects Him and mocks Him, if they believe He exists at all. There will be doubters. There will be haters. But we need to stay firmly rooted in God’s word and move forward in faith. If we can do that and not let fear stop us from following Him, He can use us in amazing ways as He did Mary and Joseph.
Comments? Questions? I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me about this post.