A Reflection on Joseph’s Encounter with the Angel of the Lord

By Monalisa Mitchell

In the book of Matthew, Jesus’s story begins with his genealogy—14 generations from Abraham to David, 14 from David to the exile to Babylon, and 14 from the exile to the Messiah—culminating in the birth of the one whom God referenced to Adam & Eve in the garden (Genesis 3:15) and the prophets speak of throughout the Old Testament.

The story of Jesus comes to life for me in the lives of Joseph & Mary—they were chosen as parents of the Savior to the world. They may have had doubts about such a daunting task, but God provided counsel and peace.

Matthew 1:20 (NLT) says, “As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit.”

An angel of the Lord counseled Joseph (in a dream) to address his doubts about Mary’s pregnancy and what he considered (being a man of the law): to divorce her. The angel states Joseph’s place and role in the lineage of the Messiah (as son of David) and commands him, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife”. The Greek translation of the word to take is paralambano, which means “take & receive.”

The angel of the Lord instructs Joseph to take and receive a huge responsibility, not to be afraid to wed the pregnant Mary because the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. The message from God empowered Joseph to believe the truth about Mary’s pregnancy, and Joseph demonstrated his faith in God through obedience.

As believers or parents, we may not fully see what our future holds for our work for God’s kingdom or our children. However, if we hold fast to God’s truth and remember daily the promises He has made to us (and our children), we can have peace and joy. We must never forget that being coheirs with Jesus Christ makes us integral to God’s plan for humanity.

Prayer: Father God, I thank you for our Messiah who walked among us in earthly form, empowered by the Holy Spirit. I thank you for the Holy Spirit that brought life to humanity through the birth of our Savior, Jesus.

Leave a Reply