I wonder how Joseph must have felt when Mary came to him with the news that she was pregnant and that the baby was of the Holy Spirit and would be the Son of God. Was he angry with her? Did he think she had been traumatized and couldn’t tell him the truth? Did he wrestle with his feelings and what to do?We can see in the bible that Joseph was a righteous man and did not want to publicly disgrace Mary. He had in mind to divorce her quietly. Engagement back in those days was much stronger than it is today. Nowadays if a young couple breaks up while engaged, it can be done as simply as telling the other person we have changed our mind. There of course is emotional turmoil and may be some financial things to take care of such as what to do about the ring, but back then breaking off an engagement meant divorcing.
Joseph planned to do so quietly so that Mary would not be disgraced. This shows me the character of Joseph because if he had shamed her publicly, she would have also been stoned to death. The fact that he planned to quietly divorce her shows that he did not believe her incredible story. After all it has only happened once in all of the history of mankind that a virgin had a baby from God.
Imagine being Joseph and Mary comes to you and says “I am pregnant, but I am still a virgin. An angel told me the Holy Spirit would cause me to become pregnant with the Son of God and that we should name Him Jesus”. That is a lot to take in for a man who is a simple carpenter by trade. Joseph was not a religious leader. He was not high up in Jewish Society at the time. Why would God want Joseph to be the earthly step-father of Jesus?
The fact that Joseph did not want to publicly disgrace Mary shows his character. It shows us that God knew Joseph and Joseph’s character. God’s plan was at work and God chose Mary for a reason and God chose Joseph for a reason. God knew that Joseph would not want to bring harm to Mary or her baby. It makes me wonder what God would choose us to do based on our character.