The beginning of Jesus’ earthly story is so often told in this season that, unless we pause, we might miss Joseph’s alarming faith to take Mary as his own according to the angel’s message. Joseph’s first impulse was to end the betrothal. In most people’s eyes, Mary had been unfaithful — to the law and him. Yet Joseph’s initial response was tender and gracious, not angry. He didn’t want to embarrass her, so he intended to deal with it quietly.

Then an angel showed up in his dreams with an incredible message — it’s okay, Joseph. Mary didn’t sleep with another man. She became pregnant through the Holy Spirit!

Since God had yet to send His Spirit to be our helper, Mary and Joseph’s fallback understanding would have been that Yahweh, the great I Am, had somehow miraculously touched Mary. We can imagine the reaction when Joseph and Mary told their friends, “Um, it was God who did this. Really. An angel told us.”

Joseph took the dream seriously. He stuck with Mary, married her, and raised the Savior of the World. We don’t know a lot about him from Scripture, but one thing we can be sure about is that he was faithful.

Today, we don’t put as much faith in dreams being a message from God. We might say, “Oh, it was just a dream” or "I dreamt that, but I had better confirm it with Scripture.” Confirmation is fine, but we might do well to have a bit more of Joseph’s faith.

*Dear God, thank you for Joseph’s model of faithfulness, for the way he heard you, believed you, and obeyed you in action that challenged how most people thought at the time. May we too listen to your voice — however it comes to us — and be ready to respond to your prompting.

Go Deeper — Has anyone ever told you about an unbelievable incident where God acted miraculously or spoke into the situation? Was your initial reaction one of doubt or one of faith?

Tags: Faith Matthew 1
Photo Credit: Aaron Burden