Joseph’s agony and joy.
The news Mary had given him had brought many responses, but none of them could be described as ‘joy”. He was deeply disturbed. He loved Mary and was betrothed to marry her. Betrothal was more binding than a simple engagement; it required divorce action to terminate it. But Joseph was not a callous man. The Bible described him as a just man. The Scriptures describe him as a righteous man who did not wish to make a public scandal of Mary. or she may be punished or killed for committing fornication. Perhaps he had come to the decision that he would no longer be associated with Mary. He was contemplating about these things.
As a man engaged to a woman what will you do? In our contemporary Australian life and culture? Would you runaway or support the woman you love? Difficult decisions! Joseph’s agony must have been overwhelming. He was walking back and forth, restless. What happened to you Mary? Who did this to you? Shall I obey my mind or my heart?
While Joseph was still considering what he should do, God sent an angel to explain Mary’s condition. God always has an answer when we are desperate for an answer in desperate times. He comes on time. He can only give us trials which we can bear; in order for us to trust Him and make our faith stronger.
Joseph must have received the announcement with much joy. What a release of tension. He is my hero. What a man, Joseph was! A great burden was lifted up. Hallelujah! As though he was saying, “what a relief to know that Mary my beloved girl is still the honourable and godly person I had always known her to be. The angel gave a name. I don’t have to give a name.”
For us, names are usually a means of identification, but for the Jews, names were a description of character or designated some human events. The name Jesus is from the same root as the name Joshua. It means “Jehovah is salvation.” The angelic announcement of a name added to Joseph’s joy. This child “shall save his people from their sins,” Including mine. Fantastic!
Every time anyone called His Name, they would be reminded that “Jehovah is salvation.” The Name Jesus is not a ‘swear word.’ Filipinos have sometimes used three words when they are shocked or anything that expresses strong emotions: “Jesus maryosep” meaning “Jesus, Maria and Joseph.” Don’t take the Name of Jesus (He is God) in vain. If you want to be blessed, love Him and don’t take His Name in vain.
Just as Joshua led Israel to conquer the land, so Jesus would lead God’s people to conquer sin. And just as there were still pockets of resistance after Joshua died, so at the death of Jesus all sinfulness and sinful acts were not totally eradicated for we are still in this fallen world. But Jesus was totally victorious over sin and death. And we can be victorious over sins and temptations because the Holy Spirit lives in us and He is the power within us to live a victorious life- ‘in Jesus’ Name.’
All of this is possible because of the Grace of God. Grace! Grace! Marvellous Grace! I love it! Amen!