Imagine Joseph’s surprise when Mary shares her news. As the words are coming from her mouth, his heart drops. She’s pregnant. But how? But, why? He thought they were perfect together. How could she go and do this to him? Why did she agree to marry? His mind races with questions while the anger and frustration build. But, he was a reasonable man and, he loved her. He resolved at that moment to control himself and not shame her. It was not over, however. His heart and mind would continue to stew on the matter.
As Joseph considered his options, according to verse 20, an angel appeared to him providing specific instruction. More than that, the angel provided hope and security amidst his uncertainty. The angel gave Joseph a clear path to follow. Angels, become a common thing for Joseph. He continues to get council and direction from them in chapter 2. Joseph’s response was always, yes, I will go.
As I think about Joseph, I wonder about the unique privileges he was given. First, he played a huge role in the Christ story. Second, he was directly guided by angels. I don’t know about you, but I want to be directed by angels too! How do we get that? If we are to know how Joseph got it, we must know Joseph better.
First, Joseph was had a Holy bloodline (Luke 2:4). If we are not careful, we will use this as an excuse. We may believe Joseph was given special privileges because of it. Guess what? Jesus says otherwise. Through his sacrifice, we become part of his royal priesthood (2 Peter 2:9). Like Joseph, we’re part of this larger context. We can be part of a much bigger story, but there is one catch. We must be ready.
To be ready, we must do as Joseph did. Look back again at Matthew 1:20. It says that “as Joseph considered these things.” What do you think Joseph’s consideration looked like? If it were us, it might look like worry. Or, maybe an endless list of strategies to get out of the situation. Clearly, that wasn’t true for Joseph. His consideration must have included God. I imagine him in prayer and reviewing scripture. Maybe he found comfort in the Psalms or wisdom from the Proverbs. We don’t get that kind of detail, but we do know the result. He was given a clear direction.
I believe that we are all able to get direction from angels. Actually, we get a better opportunity. Through the gift of Jesus, we get the Holy Spirit. The real question is, do we hear him? You see, Joseph ordered his life so that he recognized the angels when they came. Furthermore, he was also able and willing to turn their direction into immediate action. Today, we get a privilege that Joseph did not have. Every minute of every day, we get the power of God at our fingertips, through the Holy Spirit. He is not a privilege to a select few, we have all been chosen. Now, the choice is ours. Will we order our world to hear him?