First United Presbyterian Church

Matthew 1:18-25

Matthew 1:18-25

18 Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. 20 But just when he had resolved to do 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 as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: 23 Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means, God is with us.” 24 When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife, 25 but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son; and he named him Jesus. 

It is difficult to imagine how far reaching our day-to-day decisions can be. They can change one’s future and, perhaps, the world. Think of Joseph, living the normal life of a young Jewish man of his time. He is excited to be marrying. Then shock comes when he finds out about his soon-to-be-wife’s pregnancy. The custom in such circumstances would be to divorce her. This would disgrace her, and she would be stoned to death.

But an angel appears to him in a dream. After hearing God’s words through the angel, Joseph goes against custom and makes the decision to take Mary as his wife. He saves Mary, and Mary’s child comes to save his people from their sins. Joseph’s decision is life altering … not just for Mary, but for all generations since.

Listening to and for God’s word and making decisions based on it, can and will save one from making wrong decisions. And, who knows, those God-directed decisions may change the course of the world. In the future it may be said of those decisions as it can surely be said of Joseph’s, “And that has made all the difference.”*

*Borrowed from Robert Frost’s poem The Road Not Taken. 

Contributed by Liz Fulton

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