Joseph was a good man. He was a good Jew. He obeyed the law of Moses. When he found out that Mary, the young woman he was pledged to marry, was pregnant, and not by him, he followed the law. He planned to divorce her.

The book of Matthew doesn’t tell us much about Joseph’s thought process at this time. We can imagine that he was surprised, perhaps even shocked, to find himself in this situation. He probably knew what the talk around town would be. Maybe the looks and whispers had already started among the townspeople.

Because of a dream, Joseph changed his mind. The angel explained that this was part of God’s plan to redeem His people. The angel told Joseph to reconsider his decision and go against the law he’d been faithful to follow. Thankfully, Joseph went against the expectations of his time and followed the angel’s instructions.

In this story, we begin to see a new day dawning when the law would no longer rule the lives of God’s people. God, who gave the law, now was paving the way for a new covenant. It was a covenant of grace. God made a way through the birth and death of Jesus for us to live in the freedom of the Spirit’s guidance.

God’s people no longer have to fear the judgment of God. Those who love Him and are called by Him are now ruled by love and grace.

Lord, thank you that I do not have to live by the law. While I must be obedient to your ways, you call me to follow you because you love me. Amen.

Go Deeper — Read Romans 8:1-4. Maybe commit it to memory to remind you that God fulfilled the requirements of the law so that we could be free in Him.

Tags: Nativity Matthew 1
Photo Credit: Karolina Grabowska