Session 4 – Divine Interruption – Joseph and the Angel
Session 4 – Divine Interruption – Joseph and the Angel

Matthew 1:18-25

In his dramatic retelling of Scripture, The Book of God, Walter Wangerin imagines the conversation Joseph might have had with Mary’s worried father and then with Mary. Pale in the interior dark—scarcely visible, as if she were winter’s breath on the air—Mary was gazing out at Joseph, hesitating, chewing her bottom lip. Oh, the worry on her features broke his heart! Joseph couldn’t help himself: he ran past Joachim and gathered Mary into his arms and held her tightly to his body. “I love you,” he whispered in her tender ear. “Don’t cry, don’t cry. I love you, Mary, and I know who is sleeping in you, and I will love him, too. It is well. All is well. I know what God is doing, and I love you.”*

*Walter Wangerin, The Book of God (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996), p. 438.

Joseph’s relationship with Mary and their marriage plans were interrupted in a most shocking way, and yet he was able to offer her grace.

Group Discussion

Think about what it’s like to get caught up in someone else’s difficult circumstances—with the person perhaps needing more from you than you had expected to give. How do you normally respond to life’s interruptions?

Personal Reflection

When have you been impatient with an interruption recently—perhaps a small request? Reflect on your response before God.

When Joseph learned that Mary was pregnant, he thought he had only two options—to publicly disgrace the woman he loved or to end their relationship in a private divorce. God’s intervention, however, opened up a whole new option that he had never considered.

Read Matthew 1:18‑25.

  1. What feelings would you struggle with if you were Joseph on hearing this news?
  2. What does Joseph’s decision in verse 19 tell you about what kind of man he was?
  3. How do you think a typical church might have handled this situation?
  4. What important facts does Joseph learn from the angel in the dream (vv. 20-21)?
  5. Why do you think God let Joseph work through the struggle of that difficult decision before revealing the true story of Mary’s child to him?
  6. How did Joseph know that this was a genuine encounter with an angel and not a case of wishful thinking on his part?
  7. What confirmation about Mary’s character do you find in this passage?
  8. What do you think Joseph said to his family after his encounter with the angel?
  9. What specific truths can you learn about who Jesus was and what he came to do from the angel’s words (vv. 20‑21) and from Matthew’s reference to Old Testament prophecy (vv. 22‑23)?
  10. What qualities do you see demonstrated in Joseph’s life that would have equipped him to be a good husband to Mary and a godly model to Jesus?
  11. What principles can you learn from this passage that will prepare you for the next divine interruption in your own life?

Pray that God will shape in you a spirit that’s open to his interruptions.

Now or Later

Keep a list or journal of some of the interruptions you experience this week—from phone calls to larger requests from friends or family. Look for moments of grace and ways God might use those interruptions.