4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.
Today we’re going to look again at two of the verses from yesterday, a closer look at Joseph.
Luke’s gospel relates the events leading up to the birth of Christ from Mary’s perspective. Matthew’s gospel covers this from Joseph’s perspective. It is from Matthew that we learn about Joseph’s struggle with Mary’s pregnancy. Joseph was intending to break the betrothal because he suspected Mary of unfaithfulness. But when the angel assured him that the child to be born was no less than the Son of God, Joseph changed his mind, and accepted his role, in the same way that Mary did.
Joseph is the father of Jesus by adoption. It is doubtful that this was ever recognized legally, but in his mind and heart, once Joseph accepted the truth of Jesus’ divine parentage, he also needed to adopt this child as his own to raise.
Adoption as a practice is at the heart of our Christian faith. Not just because Joseph adopted Jesus. But most especially because in saving us and bringing us into the family of faith, God the Father has adopted us. We are not the “natural” children of God. Rather, we are the natural children of Adam, born in the image of Adam, with a sinful, fallen nature.
But because of the cross and the resurrection, and the gift of faith in Christ through the Holy Spirit, God has adopted us as His own children. This is an act of grace, as are all adoptions. The child is welcomed into the family, not by biology, but through a choice of grace on the part of the parent.
So I see in the story of Joseph a reminder of God’s grace. He has adopted me by grace and made me his child and heir.
Lord, grant that each day, I live in the awareness and peace that come from being your adopted child by grace.
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For previous Abide devotions, go to https://stjohnslutheran.net/category/abide/