Summary: 1) The Predicament of Joseph (Matthew 1:18-19), 2) The Point to Joseph (Matthew 1:20-21), 3) The Prophecy for Joseph (Matthew 1:22-23), 4) The Performance of Joseph (Matthew 1:24-25)
Families have various expectations for one another at Christmas. Regardless of how far away you might live, many times they expect a visit or even a grand get together for Christmas. Regardless of the reason, the various means of travel from air, train or road are often congested and difficult. Many just seek the peace and quiet of the end of their travel.
The Gospel of Luke pictures both Joseph and Mary as residing in Nazareth before Jesus was born. Matthew makes no mention of their residence before Jesus’ birth; he only makes it plain (as Luke does also) that Jesus was born in Bethlehem. It is quite possible that the families of Mary and Joseph were a part of the Jewish migration from Judea to Galilee which began during the time of the Macabean ruler Aristobulus. Those who migrated were zealous Jews who desired to bring their religion to the pagan Galileans and were so successful that there was no question of the Jewish character of the region after that time. Yet these families kept their ties with their native cities, and for the purposes of the Roman census they were required to return. Joseph was a part of a poor carpenter’s family. He not only followed this craft himself but also taught it to Jesus (Mk. 6:3). The Judean origin of Joseph’s family is further emphasized by the repeated reference to his Davidic ancestry. Not only is this clear from the genealogies in both Matthew and Luke and the forced journey to Bethlehem for the census, but Mt. 1:20 also refers to Joseph’s Davidic lineage; here the angel Gabriel addresses Joseph as David’s son. (Wead, D. W. (1979–1988). Joseph Husband of Mary. In G. W. Bromiley (Ed.), The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Revised (Vol. 2, pp. 1130–1131). Wm. B. Eerdmans.)
In our journeys, why do we travel? Some come out of duty, others, a desire to get reacquainted with family members they haven't seen in a while, and some leave where they presently reside in order to go back to where they are born. The reason for all the activity we do can make all the difference between frenzied activity and purposeful ministry.
Joseph was a faithful man of God who concerned himself with honoring God even when all the fact we not initially known. God used his obedience in the outworking of His plans. His faithfulness was the means that God used in order to deliver the message of peace to a lost and frenzied world. Matthew 1:18-25 highlights that obedience as seen through the: 1) The Predicament of Joseph (Matthew 1:18-19), 2) The Point to Joseph (Matthew 1:20-21), 3) The Prophecy for Joseph (Matthew 1:22-23), 4) The Performance of Joseph (Matthew 1:24-25)
1) The Predicament of Joseph (Matthew 1:18-19)
Matthew 1:18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. (ESV)
Here in Matthew, Joseph found himself in quite a predicament. He had had no sexual relations with his wife (for the presentation had not yet taken place) and yet she was pregnant. He surmised that she must be guilty of adultery (since Mary had not told Joseph of Gabriel’s visit, Lk. 1:26–38, or else Joseph did not believe her story). Should Joseph turn her over to be stoned, Deut. 22:21, or should he show her mercy and quietly put her away (divorce her)? He planned to do the latter of these things.
The Birth described here is a words from the same Greek root as “genealogy” in verse 1, indicating that Matthew is here giving a parallel account of Jesus’ ancestry-this time from His Father’s side. Verse 1 has promised to reveal the “origin” of the Messiah, and the repetition of that word here shows that that promise is still being fulfilled.( France, R. T. (2007). The Gospel of Matthew. The New International Commentary on the New Testament (50). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publication Co.)
We have little information about Mary. It is likely that she was a native of Nazareth and that she came from a relatively poor family. From Matthew 27:56, Mark 15:40, and John 19:25 we learn she had a sister named Salome, the mother of James and John (who therefore were Jesus’ cousins). If, as many believe, the Eli (or Heli) of Luke 3:23 was Joseph’s father-in-law (Matthew gives Joseph’s father as Jacob, 1:16), then Eli was Mary’s father. We know that Elizabeth, the wife of Zacharias, was Mary’s “relative” (Luke 1:36), probably her cousin. Those are the only relatives, besides her husband and children, of whom the New Testament speaks.
We know even less of Joseph than of Mary. His father’s name was Jacob (Matt. 1:16) and he was a craftsman, a construction worker (tektōn), probably a carpenter (Matt. 13:55). Most importantly, he was a “righteous man” (1:19), an Old Testament saint.