The Angel Gabriel had brought Mary the announcement of her role in God’s plan. She has accepted the call, but faced now telling her betrothed the news of her pregnancy. He was now placed in a dilemma. His virgin fiancee was with child. He hadn’t touched her. She must have cheated. The law is clear, she should be stoned. But she claims there is an angel involved. An angel!?! Right! But, maybe. He loves her. He doesn’t want her to die. Maybe a quiet divorce. That might do.
Pastor Vince brought a really thoughtful message on this dilemma which is found in Matthew 1. Here is a man determined to put his fiancee away quietly. He literally sleeps on it. God used the opportunity of his slumber to remove all doubts. “20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. 21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins. 22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, 23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. 24 Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: 25 And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name Jesus.”
Joseph has his own divine intervention. The angel of the Lord not only upholds Mary’s account, but reveals the meaning of the pregnancy to Joseph. Pastor Vince noted that Mary and Joseph are prototypes in their transformation by the gospel. Mary of the openness to God’s call, and her surrender to it. Joseph of one who was willing to look beyond skepticism and the “impossibility” of it all, and to accept faith beyond reason.
Joseph’s response to the dream is instant and decisive. He, “raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife.” He also, follows the instructions of the angel, and names his stepson – Jesus!
There had been a 400 year “silence of heaven” in which there seems to be no prophet in Israel. We often cite John as the breaker of the silence. But here we have Joseph receiving revelation from God. This revelation provided a testimony of Messiah’s mission, and names to be fulfilled. Joseph acted on the call as much as Mary did, and they are wonderful models of how we should respond as well.
Thank you Vince, for drawing my focus onto this, it is a great challenge to be ready to answer the call.