Consistent with one way of living, here's what really should have happened:
If Joseph was a faithful, obedient believer and follower of God's word, this would have been a logical, reasonable, and righteous thing for him to do.
Yet he did not.
In a dream, he heard a voice claiming to be an angel telling him:
“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.” (Matthew 1:20-21 NIV)Joseph believed this voice and did what it said. No record of him going to talk to the rabbi about it, or asking other believers for confirmation that this was indeed God's will. And there would have been no reason to listen to Mary when she told him about her experience with an angel, as she was a woman and in that culture, her words did not count. However, he listened and believed despite many reasons not to.
And so at Easter, we remember Jesus' death at age 33 rather than as an unborn child.
What do you think? Did Joseph do the right thing? What choices did he have? How do you feel about the one he made? How would you feel if someone today made a similar choice where instead of following what the Bible clearly said, they heard God speak to them?
* Thanks to a good friend for the idea of the "Joseph's options" cartoon, which then inspired the top cartoon on "the death of jesus."