But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
In a time that was quite hard and a bit traumatic, Joseph was told, “Do not be afraid.” He had been betrothed to Mary, and then found out she was already pregnant. He had considered just marrying her and then quietly sending her away to protect her. I loved how he did not want to disgrace her. He wanted to protect her.
Think about that. In a time when women were disgraced for adultery, think about the woman brought to Jesus who had been caught in adultery, Joseph wanted to quietly protect her. He was a righteous man, it says in Matthew. It took bravery to not just send her away but to keep her as his wife.
God picked Joseph because he was righteous and he would listen to Him. How many of us have had dreams that are telling us something very clearly and we do not listen. Joseph, here had a dream and he obeyed. Later, he has a few more dreams that he obeys.
That makes me wonder; had he always been a dreamer and was he accustomed to following and obeying what he saw or heard in his dreams? Or was this a new thing for him and because it was new, he obeyed??
Mary was told in Luke 1;
“28 And coming in, he said to her, “Greetings, [u]favored one! The Lord [v]is with you.” 29 But she was very perplexed at this statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this was. 30 The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; 33 and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.”
It was not easy for either Mary or Joseph. Both were afraid because of what the Lord had told them. Both were afraid because of what their society had taught them about being pregnant before being married. It was disgraceful. Yet, they chose obedience. They chose life.
Its not always easy to follow God. Sometimes we have to get out of our own way and just be obedient to Him.
Then, after the Magi came to see the baby Jesus, Herod was so angry that there was another who was called King that he;
Then when Herod saw that he had been tricked by the magi, he became very enraged, and sent and slew all the male children who were in Bethlehem and all its vicinity, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the magi. Matthew 2:16 courtesy biblegateway.com
Babies all around Jesus were killed because of him. Mary and Joseph had heard a clear warning from God in the form of a dream that Joseph had. They escaped. How sad that must have been for them to know that other children of people they lived with and knew, were killed because of the child they carried away into Egypt.
A place of safety. Their baby, whom they knew was God’s son, and therefore a very special child, was safe. But don’t you sometimes wonder….
Did they try to warn others? Did anyone else escape with them??
We don’t know. It doesn’t say. But doesn’t it make you wonder? It does me.
Sometimes to follow Jesus, you have to make some pretty big sacrifices. Here in America, so far, they aren’t so big. Right now, however, in many areas of the world, it is the ultimate sacrifice.
Its not easy. But its so worth it. Just ask Mary and Joseph.
Blessings and a very Merry Christmas!