Sunday, December 15, 2013

God's Interruption for Joseph

I appreciate the writers of each of the gospels has a different way of looking at the events that happened when Jesus was born. They each emphasize different things, but all of the share things that are a part of the story.

Matthew chooses to focus on Joseph and how he responded to the events. We don't hear much about Joseph in Scripture after Jesus' birth, but he would have raised Jesus like one of his own sons after His birth.

When I try to imagine the conversation when Mary told Joseph that she was pregnant and the child was God's, I find it difficult. I can't quite figure out how you would tell someone that.

But, it's a bit easier to imagine how Joseph would have responded. Matthew tells us what Joseph was planning to do in response: "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." (Matthew 1:19)

I sometimes wonder if Joseph said anything when Mary told him or what he would have said to her when she did.

Did he just sit there quietly unable to say anything?

Did he choose to stay quiet because he didn't want to say anything and hurt Mary with his response?

Did he have words of disbelief for her story?

Whatever Joseph's response when he found out, we know that his initial decision was to keep it quiet and divorce he so that she wouldn't face public disgrace.

But a visit from an angel in his dreams changed all of this. The angel confirmed what he had been told by Mary (Matthew 1:20-21). That message from the angel changed his life. Whatever he had thought before, not that he knew the truth, his life wouldn't be the same.

Over the last few months, I've been a part of a Bible study looking at the book of Jonah and how God interrupted his life with a new thing to do. Jonah had a choice in how to respond to God's interruption in his life.

In Matthew 1, we see that Joseph also had to choose how he would respond to God's interruption in his life. Would he choose to still take Mary as his wife, even when it would seem scandalous to those in Jewish culture? Or would he move forward with his plans to quietly divorce Mary?

Would Joseph step into God's interruption and be a part of God building His kingdom? Or would Joseph see it as an interruption and run from it?

We know that Joseph chose to participate in God's plan and take Mary as his wife. Joseph chose to join God in building His kingdom, even if he didn't fully understand it at the time.

We can learn from Joseph's example here about how to respond when God interrupts our plans. Joseph made the choice we should make - he chose to join God. That doesn't mean it was easy for Joseph. He would forever face disparaging opinions for doing so, but he went with God's plan anyways.

It may not be easy for us to go along with it when God interrupts our plans, but it will always be worth it.

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