Is Jesus worth your reputation?
In our culture, a harshly worded Facebook post can bring an end to long-standing friendships and even fray the bonds within a family.
Barely are the words posted or spoken and we immediately launch into a defense of our good character. The one thing that can bring out the beast in us is someone lying about us.
Imagine, then, being asked to purposely step into a scandal that would be based on false assumptions and would wreck your good name.
That’s what Joseph was being asked to do when he was volunteered by God to be the step-father to Jesus. Since there had never been a virgin birth prior to that of Jesus (or since), it would make sense that no one would believe him or Mary regarding the miraculous conception by the Holy Spirit. Everything would indicate that Mary had to have had sex with someone, and if Joseph claimed innocence, then he was condemning Mary as an adulterer.
But — and here’s where the plot thickens for Joseph — if he went ahead and married Mary, it would appear to everyone that Joseph was condoning sin; and in that case, others would likely think Joseph must then be the co-sinner with Mary.
The only way Joseph could keep his good name and not be blamed for something he wasn’t guilty of — at least in the eyes of those who knew him and Mary — was, at the least, to divorce his fiance. Exactly what God didn’t want Joseph to do …
“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 …” Matthew 1:20a.
Joseph knew to obey would be to purposely step into scandal and willingly subject his decision to ridicule and his character to disparagement. Joseph was being asked to put his name on the line for God.
What did he do?
“When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife,” Matthew 1:24.
Knowing that to do what God asked would bring him great trouble and personal derision, Joseph didn’t hesitate. Joseph was willing to put his entire reputation on the line in order to obey God.