What The Angel Said

Matthew 1:18-23 (NIV)

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. 19 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.
20 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. 21 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.”
22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).

The angel told Joseph, “Do not be afraid…”  Apparently he was afraid of something.  Of what could he have been fearful or dismayed?  Perhaps he was afraid of the religious people of his day.  According to the Scriptures, Mary would have been guilty of adultery and should have been condemned to death by stoning.  By this time in Israel’s history, this was no longer the case.
Maybe he was afraid of what the community would think.  Joseph could have divorced her in a very public, shaming way.  Mary would have had a very difficult time ever finding a husband again because of her “infidelity” and having a child.  She would have had no one to support her once her parents passed away.  Joseph was a good man, though, and didn’t want to disgrace his soon to be wife.  He would just quietly divorce her and send her on her way.
Maybe Joseph was afraid of what his family would think.  Whatever the reason, Joseph was afraid and troubled over the news that his fiancee was pregnant.  He knew that he wasn’t the father and that is when the angel showed up in a dream.  Joseph needn’t be afraid to take Mary as his wife.  She did not cheat on him.  She was highly favored by God and was going to give birth to the Messiah!  God had a plan for this little baby she was carrying.  He had a plan all along and it was a good plan.  It was a plan to save the world through Jesus.
We who live 2000 years later needn’t be afraid, either.  We do not need to be afraid of God because through Immanuel, God is with us.  We do not need to be afraid of the devil, for Jesus came to save us from our sins.  We do not need to be afraid of what others think, for no matter what happens, God has a plan.  It is still a good plan and we can trust Him to carry it out and work all things together for our good.
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son, Immanuel. Thank You for not distancing Yourself from us, but instead being with us. We need You now, O God. We need Your presence in our lives. We need Your love in our world. Forgive us our many sins and cast out our fears. In the name of Immanuel, amen.

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