This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
Matthew’s gospel was written by Matthew, the tax collector-turned-follower of Jesus, and one of the 12 apostles. Most scholars believe that Matthew wrote his gospel in the late 50s or 60s to Jews and Jews who had become Christians.
Under Jewish law, sexual relations were not permitted during a couple’s engagement, which was much more binding than engagements today. Engagements then could only be broken by divorce, which is likely why Mary and Joseph are called wife and husband even though when Mary learned she was pregnant, they had not yet been married. If Joseph had followed the law and divorced Mary publicly, she would have been stoned to death. “Jesus” is Greek for “Joshua,” which means “the Lord saves.”
What emotions do you think arose in Joseph when he learned that his fiancée was pregnant?
Why do you think the angel who appeared to Joseph refers to him as the “son of David”?
Can you think of a time you decided not to do something, even though you knew it was the right thing, for fear of what other people might whisper about you behind your back?
What does it mean to you to be saved from your sins?
Thank you for Joseph and the courageous and faithful servant he was. I pray that I can display such courage to do the right thing even when others will talk about me and gossip behind my back. Help me overcome fear in taking actions I know to be right. I am bended low in gratitude and humility that you sent your son to save me from the captivity of sin and the separation it caused between us. I am overjoyed that now I have the ability to approach you through the one who saves.