Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.

(The Advent: Faces within the Christmas Story.)

Matthew 1:18-19 (NIV)
This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

Matthew 1:18-19 (MSG)
The birth of Jesus took place like this. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. Before they came to the marriage bed, Joseph discovered she was pregnant. (It was by the Holy Spirit, but he didn’t know that.) Joseph, chagrined but noble, determined to take care of things quietly so Mary would not be disgraced.
“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by [the power of] the Holy Spirit. And Joseph her [promised] husband, being a just and righteous man and not wanting to expose her publicly to shame, planned to send her away and divorce her quietly.” -AMPLIFIED

Now we come to the father figure in Jesus’ life. For though Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit, as the angel Gabriel had told Mary, God saw the need to have a physical, flesh and blood father in the life of His Son. Joseph was to be that father. Joseph was just an ordinary guy called upon to fill some extraordinary shoes; to be the earthly father of the Most High.

There is not much information contained in Scripture about this man who would be the Savior’s earthly father. We do not have any speeches, or quotes from Joseph; in fact, not one word spoken by Joseph is even recorded in Scripture. We do have record of his character, as well as his thoughts though, in a few places.

We are told that Joseph was betrothed or engaged to Mary. As was pointed out yesterday this engagement would last about a year, as the couple prepared themselves for marriage. This engagement was just as binding as the actual marriage. So when Joseph found out that Mary was pregnant before their marriage it must have been heartbreaking for him to find out that she was already with child. We are told that Joseph was a righteous man; which meant that he was faithful to the law, but he did not want to humiliate Mary which shows us he was a kind and honorable man.

Because of this Joseph thought the best way to handle the situation was to divorce Mary quietly. This was to be done so as not to draw attention Mary. (Remember, according to Hebrew law Mary could have been stoned to death for having sex outside of marriage. If Joseph had chosen to pursue the law in this instance he could have had Mary put to death.)

Joseph made his decision before going to bed the night he received this news. That night as he lay in bed mulling over things Joseph fell asleep and had a life changing dream. Scripture tells us, ” While he was trying to figure a way out, he had a dream. God’s angel spoke in the dream: “Joseph, son of David, don’t hesitate to get married. Mary’s pregnancy is Spirit-conceived. God’s Holy Spirit has made her pregnant. She will bring a son to birth, and when she does, you, Joseph, will name him Jesus—‘God saves’—because he will save his people from their sins.” This would bring the prophet’s embryonic sermon to full term: Watch for this—a virgin will get pregnant and bear a son; They will name him Immanuel (Hebrew for “God is with us”).” Matthew 1:20-23 (MSG)

Now, the next part of Matthew 1 shows us what kind of man Joseph truly was. Matthew tells us, “Then Joseph woke up. He did exactly what God’s angel commanded in the dream: He married Mary. But he did not consummate the marriage until she had the baby. He named the baby Jesus.” -Matthew 1:24-25 (MSG)

This man was obedient to do God’s bidding and this is not the only instance that we find this to be true. Later, once the wise men had stopped in for a visit, God warned him to flee with Mary and the child. Again we find Joseph obediently doing as he was instructed. And  even later, once Herod had died, God told Joseph to take Mary and the child back to Israel and once again we find Joseph obediently doing just as God had instructed.

This man who was to be the father figure in the life of the young Jesus was obedient to the Heavenly Father; just what the young Jesus needed to see. We find that Joseph was a man of integrity and honor; faithful completely to God. What a godly earthly father this man, that God had personally chosen, turned out to be.

My Prayer:

Heavenly Father, it is amazing to read and see every single detail that you took care of for your precious Son to be born. Every person that you prepared to be part of this babe’s life was handpicked by you. You took care of every detail and when there was fear, misunderstanding or the need for clarification; you took care of that too. God, you are so amazing! May I too be obedient to do your bidding, just as Mary and Joseph were; even if it is something difficult.


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