|Matthew 1:19 NIV|
|2018-12-10||Written by Bob and Debby Gass|
We know little of Joseph except that he is a carpenter and, as most Jewish young men would have been married by the age of twenty, he is probably in his teens. We don't know how Joseph finds out that Mary is pregnant but when he does he is faced with the appalling certainty that the girl he is legally engaged to is not a virgin and is about to have a child that isn't his. The most effective way for Joseph to defend his honour is to accuse her in court in a public divorce. Her conviction would publicly and permanently humiliate Mary but might save his reputation. Eventually, Joseph plans a private divorce, which would avoid any public 'naming and shaming'. But God intervenes and an angel appears to Joseph in a dream. God demands an even deeper righteousness: Joseph is told to take Mary home as his wife, that the child is of God and that he is to name Him Jesus because 'he will save his people from their sins' (Matthew 1:21 NIV). And - this is the key point - Joseph obeys. Ignoring any allegations that he has betrayed the moral standards of his society, he takes Mary home as his wife, putting her and the child under his protection. He also names the baby Jesus. In doing so, Joseph formally adopts the child into the family of David: He is legally now of the lineage of the kings of Israel. We need to seek this sort of righteousness and we must be prepared to ignore the critical voices of those about us. We need to look to God for what He calls us to do.
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