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)
We don’t usually focus on this angelic visit at Christmas time. The usual focus is on the angel’s visit to Mary, told in Luke. This, though, is an equally important visit from an angel. God rewarded Joseph’s attitude of waiting to seek the correct decision with a visit from an angel. This angel gave Joseph some amazing news, which we will focus on today and tomorrow.
The angel first spoke to him as Joseph, son of David. Although Joseph wasn’t the biological father of Jesus, Jesus’ adoption into their family would make Jesus an heir of David. God miraculously brought Jesus into the right family. Joseph made Jesus a descendant of David, as God had planned.
Then the angel said, things are not as they seem. Just as God made the initiative to intercede in Mary’s life with a miraculous conception, so God intercedes with Joseph through the angel. God had to intercede with Joseph so that Joseph would in fact take Jesus in as his adopted son. Joseph was fearful to keep Mary until he heard this news.
It was miraculous news! Mary’s baby is not the result of sin. God has intervened. The Holy Spirit had brought about Mary‘s pregnancy, it was not the result of sin! Joseph need not fear what happened to Mary. Joseph need not fear ending his relationship with Mary. Joseph must fear and trust God, because the Holy Spirit has done a miraculous work in Mary!
There was no other situation in the history of the world with which Joseph could compare what was happening to him. All he could do was, in humility, trust the Holy Spirit and the angel’s words. Just like Mary, that’s what Joseph did. It seems like trust in the face of insurmountable odds is the most difficult trust to have. But that’s what God called Joseph to do – trust in God. God calls us to trust him in the same way. Are you willing to depend on God by faith?