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Daily Devotional • March 20
Feast of St. Joseph

Steven McCain
From Fear to Obedience
A Reading from the Gospel of Matthew 1:18-25

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. 25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.

Today marks the Feast of St. Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus. Though Scripture does not record much of Joseph’s life, we learn a great deal about the character of Joseph from Matthew. 

St. Joseph is an example of obedience and submission to God’s will even in the face of much difficulty and confusion. Joseph’s story is relatable because it is messy and atypical. When Joseph finds out that Mary is pregnant with a child that is not his, he tries to break off the marriage. He resolves to do so in a way that maintains some of her honor, though he nevertheless intends to leave her and her child. 

In this critical moment of decision, God intervenes. God sends an angel in a dream to show Joseph God’s plan for salvation through this child. Though God did not necessarily need Joseph, he does not allow Joseph to leave. Instead, God invites him to be part of salvation history. Joseph, an ordinary craftsman from Nazareth, responds in obedience to God’s extraordinary call on his life. 

God calls Joseph to something so much bigger than himself — to raise, teach, protect, and parent God alongside Mary. May we follow Joseph’s example of courage, obedience, and trust in God’s extraordinary calling on each of our ordinary lives. 

Steven McCain is a seminarian living in Durham, North Carolina, with his wife, Elizabeth, and two sons, Benjamin and James. 

Daily Devotional Cycle of Prayer

Today we pray for:

The Diocese of Rokon – The Province of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan
Episcopal Church of the Ascension, Lafayette, Louisiana
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