Can you imagine how Joseph felt? No doubt, like others, he knew a Savior would come, but how did it feel to find out that God chose his fiancé to be the bearer of the Savior? How did he feel knowing what was happening while he faced public ridicule and shame? Despite what the world said, God knew Joseph was the one to help carry forth his plan.
Now, Joseph was of the lineage of King David, but long before him, the kingdom had fallen into foreign hands. Although of the royal bloodline, Joseph was a skilled worker, a carpenter, who was engaged to marry Mary. During their engagement period, it was discovered that Mary was pregnant. Mary knew the Holy Spirit had placed this child within her, but Joseph did not know. He had to consider what he would do concerning the situation. Because he was a righteous man, he wanted to handle the matter respectfully. Instead of choosing to shame Mary publicly, he decided he would end the engagement quietly. Yet, that was not God’s plan.
One night, an angel of God appeared to Joseph in a dream. The angel told Joseph to not be afraid to take Mary as his wife, for the child she carried was conceived through the Holy Spirit. The angel told Joseph that Mary would have a son and that he would call him Jesus. This name was chosen because Jesus would save the people from their sins. When Joseph awakened from the dream, he did as the angel said and married Mary.
As the angel had said, Mary gave birth to a baby boy, and Joseph named him Jesus. Thereafter Joseph prepared a home for them. One day, their home was visited by wise men, bearing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh for the young Jesus. After the wise men visited, an angel warned Joseph that King Herod wanted to kill Jesus. The angel told Joseph to escape with Mary and the child to Egypt. Joseph did as the angel said and took Mary and Jesus to Egypt. After King Herod died, an angel told Joseph to return to Israel. Joseph did. Yet, he did not go to Bethlehem. King Herod’s son ruled in his place. Joseph was fearful that he would seek to kill Jesus. So, Joseph took Jesus and Mary to the district of Galilee, and they lived in a city called Nazareth.
Resource: Matthew 1-2
- How does it feel when you think the trust has been broken by someone you care about?
- Despite how Joseph felt concerning Mary’s pregnancy, he wanted to treat her with love. Have you ever had a situation where you were wrong, but the person you wronged treated you with love instead of giving you what you deserved? Give an example.
- Joseph chose to make Mary his wife because he believed God’s message. How does it feel when you discover the truth? Give an example.
- In Joseph’s time, he and Mary would have both faced shame. Mary faced shame because she was unmarried and pregnant. Joseph would have faced shame because he decided to marry Mary even though the child was not his or people thought he lied that the child was not his. Does the truth always take away the feelings of shame or stop the ridicule? How difficult is it to move forward when you know the truth and others don’t?
- In this story, we see at least three instances where Joseph protected Jesus. Name the times he protected Jesus.
- One of the key roles a father has is as a protector. How does it feel when you know you are protected? Give an example.
- Joseph not only protected Jesus. Also, he protected Mary. Why is that important?
- From the time Joseph found out what God wanted him to do, Joseph accepted Jesus as his son and he treated him as his son. What attribute did Joseph demonstrate?
- Sometimes, we don’t know how a situation will end. Although Joseph knew Jesus was the Savior, he didn’t know how it would emerge that Jesus was the Savior or how Jesus’s life would end. How important is it for us to keep going, play our roles, even if we don’t know how everything will end? Does it make a difference?
- It takes great faith to do what Joseph did. Many times, his own life was in danger. Yet, he persisted. Could you keep going? Could you stay faithful to God’s plan?
What does the bible say being faithful and serving God? Discuss.
- Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. 1 Corinthians 15:58 ESV
- Then once more you shall see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve him. Malachi 3:18 ESV
- Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6 ESV
- You may not always understand how God does it or why he does it, but go with it. In the end, it will all make sense.
- Often, the world’s view and God’s view are different. Which view you choose will reveal whom you serve.
- No matter what the world says, have the courage to keep moving forward. God is with those who are faithful to his plan.
Father God, may we have courage like Joseph who persisted in your plan despite what the world may have said. We ask this in your son Jesus’s name. Amen.
Whatever God has revealed to you, act according to his plan.
What did you learn, and how can you apply that to your life?