“The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham…” – Matthew 1:1
Matthew the tax collector turned preacher and writer of this gospel begins this book by giving us the genealogy of our Savior, Jesus. This genealogy brings us all the way from Abraham to Joseph and Mary. It then tells us that Joseph and Mary were betrothed. Betrothal was engagement, but in those days it was like marriage. One commentator writes, “Jewish betrothal was as binding as modern marriage. A divorce was necessary to terminate the betrothal”. They were regarded as legally married even though the marriage had not been consummated.
The Bible then tells us that Mary was found with child by the Holy Spirit. This was a Divine act of the Holy Spirit through supernatural means (Matt. 1:18). Many would not see it that way. They would see it as adultery. The punishment for adultery was stoning (see Deut. 22:23-24). In the following verses, it tells us that Joseph began thinking about these things and then an angel appears and tells him not to be afraid and reveals the plan. Joseph and Mary obey and follow through with God’s plan.
Can you imagine what Joseph and Mary must have been feeling and thinking at this point? There was tremendous pressure on them to give in to what everyone else thought they should do and how they should act. If they kept the baby, there was a chance Mary could be stoned. If Joseph stayed with her, he would be viewed as disobedient to his religion. But, if they were not obedient to God, His plan for their lives would have never been fulfilled and Jesus may have never been born. Ultimately, they were obedient to the Word of the Lord and God fulfilled His plan of redemption through their lives.
You never know how God is going to use you. This year, maybe God has already been speaking to you about His plan for you. Does it make you afraid or wonder what people may think about you? If so, consider how Joseph and Mary handled their fears. They were obedient no matter what the cost and as a result, many get to spend eternity in heaven because of what Jesus has done on the cross. How many will come to know Jesus this year if we listen to His instructions and obey His calling for our lives?
“Realizing our moment-by-moment dependence on God the Creator for our very existence makes it appropriate to live lives of devotion, commitment, gratitude, and loyalty toward him, and scandalous not to. Godliness starts here, with God the sovereign Creator as the first focus of our thoughts.” – J.I. Packer