Her husband Joseph, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly.
So often, Joseph is overlooked or only briefly mentioned in any discussion of the events leading up to Jesus' birth. We're going to go at it a little differently and spend a couple days with him, because he has a pretty incredible part in this story.
In our verse today, Joseph has heard that Mary has been visited by an angel, is pregnant, and he is a bit surprised to say the least.
Like we saw in my last post, Mary and Joseph were betrothed, so just ending their relationship would have been a really big deal. So is cheating. Someone found to have cheated in a betrothal relationship was to be stoned to death just as if they were married. At the time, Joseph would have been well within his rights to demand this justice.
But, Joseph knew Mary. He loved her. He loved her so much that he was willing to look past the sin and betrayal he believed she committed against him. And rather than demanding the justice he deserved, he offered mercy. She would not be sentenced to death, she would not be shamed. He still loved her in spite of everything.
As we wait for the birth of Jesus, we need to see that Joseph gives us a glimpse into what we can expect from His arrival in our world. Jesus isn't just coming to teach us how to be good. He's coming because He knows that we choose something other than God. He's coming because He knows that we turn away, and unlike Joseph, He's not mistaken. And He's coming because He loves us so much that He looks right past it and offers mercy.
Can you imagine?