18 Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be pregnant from the Holy Spirit. 19 Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to divorce her quietly. 20 But just when he had resolved to do 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 as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: 23 “Look, the virgin shall become pregnant and give birth to a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means, “God is with us.”
God's Promises will be Fulfilled
by David Rosselli
It is fitting that as we begin this season of Advent, we read these verses in Matthew and meditate on what it truly looks like when our God fulfills His prophecy. Joseph was a man of faith, who was also faithful to the law, and would have heard of the prophecies of a Messiah who would one day come to redeem God’s people.
This passage is such a compelling illustration of God’s faithfulness. But it is also a reminder that the Advent we seek – the unfolding of God’s perfect love and redemption for our sins – does not always look the way we expect.
Jesus did not come down from Heaven in a chariot of fire. He didn’t appear to his people as a pillar of cloud, marking the path toward righteousness. He came quietly, born to a virgin who was at the mercy of her husband as to whether or not she would be an unwed mother.
Were Joseph to write the story of how God’s prophecy would be fulfilled, it would have looked strikingly different from the reality in which he found himself in verses 18 and 19. No one, looking in from the outside, would have blamed Joseph for divorcing Mary. It was allowable under the law. But God had other plans.
In a dream, the Lord appeared to Joseph, verse 20 states. The Lord reassured him, comforted him and commanded him in how he, now, would take the first steps of parenting the son that the world would one day call Immanuel. A tall order.
I thank God that Joseph was faithful and obedient to that command. That in the face of what was sure to be pressure from his community, from his fellow Jews, Joseph held on to the promises of the Lord and walked in faith.
As we prepare our hearts through this time of Advent, how often have we imagined how God’s promises will be fulfilled – whether in our own lives or more broadly through our community, our country or, more topically, through our Baylor community? Are we seeking the Lord as we turn expectantly to Him? Are we resting in His word to be ready to hear the promptings of the Holy Spirit when the reality of those fulfilled promises clash with our expectations?
I pray that in this season, we will pause, reflect and wait quietly, that our hearts will be tuned to His purpose, and that we will be obedient, even when our Lord’s commands run counter to our human narratives.
Learn More About Our Guest Writer
Vice President for University Advancement David Rosselli joined Baylor in November 2015. He oversees university development and alumni engagement. Under his leadership, the University launched Give Light, a $1.1 billion campaign to build philanthropic support for University priorities outlined in Illuminate, the University’s strategic plan. Since the launch of the campaign in 2018, the effort has garnered more than $1.24 billion toward these initiatives.
Mr. Rosselli is a graduate of the University of the Pacific, having earned a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism and a master’s degree in educational psychology. He and his wife, Christine, are honored to be a part of the Baylor Family.