Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:
“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall call his name Immanuel”
(which means, God with us).
– Matthew 1:18-23 (ESV)
Joseph doesn’t get much attention, but I think that if nothing else is said about me after I’m gone, the words “he was a just man” would be sufficient. Joseph could have done many things, up to and including having Mary shunned or even executed as an adultress. I’m sure Joseph was very troubled, hurt, and even shamed by Mary’s pregnancy, prior to learning the divine nature of it, but being a just man, and out of his affection and concern for her, Joseph wanted to do the right thing.
We need more Josephs in this world.
“She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
Beautiful. In Hebrew I’m told that Jesus’ name (Yeshua) means “Yahweh is salvation”. I love the straightforward, direct nature of the angel’s pronouncement. He’s our Savior! Call him “Jesus”.
Matthew then quotes from the majestic book of Isaiah:
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
– Isaiah 7:14 (ESV)
Immanuel means “God with us”.
God, becoming a man of flesh and blood to save his people from their sins; this is the gospel, pronounced to a bewildered and troubled man named Joseph. A man who at the time had no idea that what was, up until that moment, the cause for his deep personal concern and sorrow would soon become the greatest joy the world had ever known.