“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.’
All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: ‘The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel’ (which means ‘God with us’).
When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus” (Matthew 1:20-25 NIV).
Most all Jewish people, and certainly Joseph, would have known the prophecy from Isaiah that says, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14 NIV). Also, in our day we too know not only this prophecy but also the narrative of Jesus birth. We have been raised with it.
Two months and a day before for I was born, John Fitzgerald Kennedy made his speech at Rice Stadium challenging us to go to the moon and return safely within a decade. I grew up in an air force town close to where they invented the atomic bomb. I watch the personal computer age come into existence, TV’s go from three channels to hundreds of channels, and served on a nuclear power submarine in the Navy. I now carry in my pocket a computer one million times more powerful than the one that the original space craft had which took us to the moon, and even let my car tell me where to go.
I was born and grew up in an age of “the possible.” Everything is possible in our world. We can even FaceTime instantly with someone thousands of miles away. We live in a world of the possible, but let’s go back to before Jesus’ birth, back when no one had heard the story told every year and Christmas. Back to when wood and bronze and crude iron are the high tech of the day. If you wanted something, you made it. If you were hungry you grew and raised your food. The stars and moon, well no one really knew what they were in this age. An age where the Romans had been repressing the Israelites for a lifetime, and before them the Greeks, and before that...we can go all the way back to the exile. This was not the world of the possible, but the world of the impossible. All had turn against them.
Yes, Joseph probably new the Isaiah prophecy, but he had no idea it would involve him. He lived in the world of the impossible. A virgin, yea right! God had not been really heard from for 400 years. Yet, when Joseph heard the angel of the Lord, he acted. Not out of the impossibility he had grew up in, but acted from the possible, the possible of God. Joseph acted in faith. He took Mary, never questioned her, gave Jesus the name told to him from the angel, and knew that, “he will save his people from their sins.”
God Himself becomes human and God, coming to the earth as a small helpless baby, relying solely on Joseph and Mary. God incarnate, Jesus!
Now what is impossible with God?
What possible do you need of God?