“But who he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of Dauid›, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 1:20).
Four hundred years passed from the prophecies of Malachi about the coming of the Messiah until God found a man worthy of being the earthlyfather of the Messiah. That man was Joseph.
Joseph and Mary were descendants of King David. Matthew explains the royal genealogy of Jesus through Joseph (see Matthew 1:1—16). Then, he is introduced as the husband of Mary (see Matthew 1:16), not as the father of Jesus, because he was His legal father but not His biological father. Joseph was betrothed to Mary, but they did not live together as husband and wife, since they had not married yet. In those times, a betrothal was a legal relationship (Deuteronomy 22:23, 24) that could only be dissolved by divorce (see SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 5, p. 281).
Before the marriage and before Joseph and Mary had sexual relations, Mary became pregnant (see Matthew 1:18). The angel announced to Mary her virginal conception (see Luke 1:26-35), but when the angel appeared to Joseph, he had already found out about the pregnancy. Secretly, Joseph was thinking about breaking off the betrothal without causing public shame to Mary (see Matthew 1:19). He was a man of principles; he did the right thing in the right way. Some questions came to his mind: World it be correct to marry a woman who appeared to be an adulteress? Should I divorce her without explaining the reasons whichally accepted? If he only did what was best for his own reputation, heexpose her reputation. She could beaccused of adultery and sentenced to death; he could throw the first stone as a witness to his own innocence (see Deuteronomy 22:23, 24). Joseph had two options: to raise someone else’s son, or let people consider Mary as an adulteress and Jesus a bastard son. But God always has a way out where we don’t see one.
To marry a pregnant woman meant bearing a social stigma the rest of his life. This is probably why later, when they traveled to Bethlehem, where they still had relatives, no one wanted to take them in. Joseph had all these thoughts going through his mind when the divine messenger confirmed to him the virginal conception and birth of Mary’s son. He took Mary as hiswife in spite of the future implications. He honored Mary’s virginity untilthe birth of Jesus. He obeyed without caring about his personal interests. Thus, he demonstrated that he possessed the necessary qualities to be the adoptive father of Jesus, who was God Himself incarnate.
Your decisions affect the lives of others. Ask God for wisdom, and do His will, no matter how difficult the situation. Whatever may be your frustrations and doubts, God is there to say to you as He did to Joseph, “Do not be afraid.”