Summary: his dream/dilemma/decision
Joseph’s Dilemma, Dream, & Decision
Matthew presents the birth of Christ from the vantage point of His earthly dad (Joseph was not the father). God was the father who planted His sinless seed into the virgin womb of Mary, who was engaged to Joseph.
The blood comes from the father…thank God for that or Jesus could not have been the Savior/shed His blood for us!
Joseph was Jesus’ legal father, but not His literal father. We don’t know much about Joseph. In all 4 gospels: not 1 quote from Joseph (we never hear him speak)
-strong silent type? (carpenter/callouses)
-just indicative of the fact that he’s not vital to the story?
Either way, he was just what Mary needed at this time in her life.
He may not be an integral part of the birth of the Savior, but you have to admit, it was an honor to be handpicked by God to be the earthly dad that Jesus would need.
Joseph and Mary were good people, but sinners, just like you and me…and we can learn from their lives.
3 thoughts on Joseph:
1. Joseph’s Dilemma
v. 18 Jewish marriages took place in 3 stages:
The contractual stage/espousal stage/actual consummation
Young people had little to do w/ the process as most marriages were pre-arranged. This marriage was likely arranged when Joseph and Mary were little kids! A legal contract would be signed w/ details of the dowry put in writing! They grew up knowing who they would marry and didn’t question it (divorce rate low then!)
Joke—little boy said, I hope a pretty girl moves into the neighborhood on my side of the street! Someone asked, why your side? “’cuz someday I’ll want to get married and momma won’t let me cross the street!”
After the contractual stage was the espousal stage, what we would call an engagement period, which normally lasted about a year. Now they were allowed to spend time together and start getting to know each other (told to learn to love each other! [not fall] Love is a choice, a decision, a commitment! [Eph. 5 God commands men to love their wives…a decision, not just a feeling)
In mt. 1 they are in that espousal stage…they are supposed to spend lots of time together, but must keep themselves pure during this time.
Temptation is the strongest at this time, esp. if the couple believes the lie: “we’re gonna get married anyway”.
It’s still sin…the God who created you created sex for marriage, no exceptions, I don’t care how many people are doing it (test drive!) And respect and trust are undermined when a couple doesn’t wait (my partner is immoral, as am I…if they’re willing to sin w/ me, they may be willing to sin against me!)
So, it was imp’t for Joseph and Mary to spend a quantity of time together, but to avoid allowing things to get out of hand.
That was the espousal stage…next was the actual marriage (huge 7 day wedding feast, w/ consummation to follow)
In mt. 1 they are espoused, but not married…so how stunned was Joseph when he found out she was pregnant?!
Mary had been away visiting her cousin, Elisabeth…and when she came back she could hide it no longer…it was evident to everyone, inc. Joseph, that she was carrying a baby! And Joseph knew that he was not the father, because he knew he had not been with her!
We can read v. 18 and see that the child was conceived of the Holy Ghost…we know that, Mary already knew that, but Joseph did not know that! All he could think, naturally, was that Mary had been unfaithful/immoral. (It must have torn him up inside. His heart had already come to trust in her, she seemed incapable of doing such a thing, it must have felt like his heart just fell out of his chest!)
This was Joseph’s dilemma!
v. 19 His dilemma was between the law and love. He and Mary were Jewish, and the law said that if Mary were found to have been unfaithful, she was to be stoned! But on the other hand, he loved her…so there was a dilemma here between law and love/conviction and compassion.
Joseph decided that he would put her away as the law demanded, but to do it privately to spare her the public humiliation.
What a dilemma he had on his hands…
2. Joseph’s Dream
v. 20-23 V. 20 said “while he thought on these things” (don’t you know that was all he could think about: wake up/eat/try to make small-talk w/ a friend/work/sit thru a sermon at the synagogue/try to sleep)
Perhaps while being plagued in his mind…sitting on that rock-formed pew in the synagogue…perhaps the words of Is. 7 were read: 14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.