But after he had considered 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 home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:20-21
So, Joseph considered divorcing Mary. He had thought it over and, even though he loved her, he couldn’t bear the shame, the wondering, the inevitable division and strife that would come with continuing this new marriage to a woman who was carrying someone else’s child. Can you blame him? It was his right. In they eyes of many, it would even be his duty.
That’s when the angel showed up.
Me, I don’t remember most of my dreams. I wish I did; I’d like to remember more about them, about things my mind has stirred around. Maybe it would help me understand my life better. Yet my dreams aren’t like the one Joseph had. I would think that someone would remember if an angel spoke to them in a dream. I would think it would make a deep impression, one that would transcend slumber. It would embed itself into your consciousness, so that you couldn’t forget.
Notice what the angel said. He reminds Joseph that he’s descended from royalty. He tells him to ignore his fears because God has plans for his family: plans bigger than even King David could have imagined. The angel tells Joseph that he is to be a father to God’s Son, that he, Joseph, the simple carpenter who had, moments before, thought himself shamed, would have the privilege of naming God’s Son: something that no other man had ever done. That this Son would save people from their sins, meaning He would be both God and man.
Joseph, son of royalty, would name and father the Son of the Great I AM. Imagine how quickly Joseph dispensed with the thoughts of divorcing Mary. What had just seemed like inevitability now seemed foolish, despite the months, even years, of scorn and ridicule that would come from their neighbors in Nazareth.
You and I: we are God’s children, too, even if we aren’t His only Son. He gives us each purposes and missions in our lives. Joseph’s mission was to adopt Jesus, who then adopts us into His Kingdom, into His divinely royal family and fellowship. Despite all the ways we try to divorce ourselves from Him, Jesus pursues us every day, showing us His better ways, asking us to let Him help us through. More than just in dreams, it all is still always the truth.
For more reading: Psalm 130:8, Luke 1:31, Luke 2:11, John 3:17, Romans 11:14, Titus 2:14, Matthew 1:22
Lord Jesus, bless Your name for being the Son of God and adopted child of humble Joseph.