Today, we light the Green, Black, Blue and Gold Candles. The Green Candle represents life and all that Father God created in Christ, Good and Whole. The Black Candle represents the Evil and Corruption of Sin that entered our World through our rebellion. The Blue candle represents the Hope that comes from the Promises of a future Savior and King. The Gold candle represents the birth of the long expected King and Savior.
“…. behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 1:21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
1:18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 1:19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly.
1:20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 1:21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
Gabriel had already appeared to Mary to tell her she would be the mother of the Davidic King and that her son Jesus would be conceived by the power of the Most High through the Holy Spirit.
Imagine being Mary telling her betrothed Joseph that she was pregnant by the Holy Spirit.
Imagine being Joseph hearing your betrothed, soon to be wife, tell you that she was pregnant by the work of the Holy Spirit.
Clearly, Joseph did not believe Mary’s “Good News.” There was no precedent in Scripture that could have prepared Mary or Joseph for the incredible and seemingly impossible way the Lord would fulfill His promises. Being a just man, Joseph decided to divorce Mary privately because he did not want to bring shame on her.
Of all the words Matthew could have used, he chooses to call Joseph just or righteous. According to the laws and traditions of the day, Joseph would have been within his rights and within the rule of law to divorce Mary publicly and shame her. Who would believe her story?
But Joseph chooses another form of justice and righteousness: mercy. Joseph is merciful to Mary. Joseph is gracious, not giving Mary what she seemingly deserves but taking it on himself not to expose and shame her.
Joseph does not believe Mary, but in his righteousness he is gracious.
Then an angel appears to Joseph in a dream.
The angel first reminds Joseph who he is: “Joseph, son of David...” Joseph is in the family line of David, the line of the long hoped for King. The angel then tells Joseph that Mary’s story is true and that he should not be afraid to marry her. He also tells Joseph that Mary’s son’s name will be Jesus – Yeshua in Hebrew – “Yahweh Saves” or “The LORD Saves.” Finally, the angel explains the meaning of the Name: He will save His people from their sins.
It was expected that when the Son of David, the True King appeared, He would lead a Kingdom revolution. He would establish justice through Israel, saving Israel from all its enemies. Before this could happen, however, there would need to be a spiritual revolution – The people of the King would need to be saved from their own sins – from their own faithless rebellion.
In order for his people to be saved, Jesus would not first offer justice the way many thought. Instead, He would offer mercy and grace just like his adopted father Joseph had shown his mother Mary. Jesus would clearly reveal the mercy and grace of His Heavenly Father.
The Son of Mary – the Seed of David, the Seed of Abraham – would bring in a new age in which mercy and grace would rule the fate of many.
The Savior is Coming!