Thursday

] as his wife. (v. 24)

Matthew 1:18-25 Thursday 19 March 2020

Psalm: Psalm 89:26-36

Background

In Matthew's Gospel, Jesus’ birth narrative is written from the point of view of Joseph, Jesus’ earthly father. At the beginning of chapter one we are given Jesus’ genealogy from David through Joseph. Here we read how Joseph could have chosen to act after hearing of Mary’s pregnancy, of how Joseph wrestled with what to do and how his faithfulness to God and the words of God’s agent helped him to make up his mind.

We hear very little about Joseph after the first two chapters of Matthew and so we can tend to see Joseph as having a very small and short role in Jesus’ life. However, this passage gives us an image of a remarkable man, carefully chosen by God to be the earthly father of God’s son.

Within Joseph’s culture it would have been expected that, on hearing of Mary’s pregnancy and knowing that he wasn’t the father, he would at the very least disown her and divorce her. He also had the right to publicly shame her and even to have her stoned. Joseph’s immediate reaction was of the kindest of these, a quiet divorce. After the angel appears to him in a dream he revises his decision and is obedient to God and carries on with their marriage.

We see here a man who has a deep and obedient faith, whose initial reactions are kind and who is ready to stand by Mary and face the scandal, the wagging tongues, maybe even the derision of their neighbours.

It is reasonable to imagine how Joseph’s character and faith influenced Jesus as he grew up. The conversations that they must have had as they worked side by side in the carpenter’s workshop as Joseph taught Jesus their trade and the time that they will have spent together in the synagogue and in the home.

 

To Ponder:

  • While the image of a ‘father figure’ may be very difficult and traumatic for some, if it is possible for you, can you think of someone who was a ‘father figure’ in the faith for you? If so, give thanks for them.
  • Joseph and Mary were ordinary people who, with God’s help, did an extraordinary and costly thing. Do you think that God uses ‘ordinary people’ to do extraordinary things today?
  • Do you think that God comes to people in their dreams? Has this happened to you?
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