“Do not be afraid”
Joseph was faithful to the Law.
Joseph did not want to expose Mary to public disgrace.
Joseph was a righteous man.
By law, if Joseph found Mary displeasing, which was not likely – or if he found something indecent about her, which a very unplanned pregnancy would seem to be, he had the right to write her off and send her away.
Joseph had it in mind to divorce her quietly.
Joseph had considered this.
Joseph had also considered not doing this.
How confusing! Did he believe her? Did he consider not divorcing her? – or disgracing her publicly? – having her stoned?
In his hurt, was he sad, angry, vindictive, confused, disappointed?
Was Joseph afraid that whatever his choice, it would end up being a bad choice? He had done nothing wrong – nothing to deserve this.
Imagine Joseph’s dilemma: his fiancee was pregnant, and he certainly was not the father.
Joseph did not know what to do, and the angel, in the first sentence spoken in the New Testament, tells him: “do not be afraid”.
I wonder if, when the angel said “Do not be afraid”, Joseph, or the angel, or Mary thought of Isaiah 41:13: “For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” I did.
18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
20 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. 21 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.”
22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).
24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.
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New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
I used http://www.biblegateway.com to locate bible verses