The Heritage of the King Part 2
18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. 20 But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.”
22 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”
24 Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, 25 and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name JESUS.
Joseph is the foster father of Jesus and we begin with his being espoused or engaged to Mary. Yet there seems to be a problem, although they are engaged and probably had been for some time, meaning that they were separated for each other, Mary is found to be with child!!!!!
In their culture there were three relationships that a couple had, the engagement, the espousal, and the betrothal.
This could take place at any time in the child’s life, because marriage was mainly by arrangement and agreement through the parents. If the circumstances were right, and each family had children around the same time, and the parents agreed on the arrangement, then their children, regardless of age, were engaged to be married at a future date.
This is the beginning of the point of maturity where the two partied involved could be married. Usually this would be in the early teens, ending at around fifteen or sixteen for the girl. This is like what we know of as engagement today. The man and woman have accepted the agreement of their parents, and each other, and they will set themselves apart for each other. This separation would last for a year as they prepared and planned for their marriage. During this time they are considered married because the only way to break it is through a writ of divorcement
The year of espousal is over and now the marriage begins. On the wedding night, the father would take the signs of his daughter’s virginity, the bedcovers, and keep them, in case there was a question as to whether she was actually a virgin or not.
This was something that the father did in order to protect his daughter and it must have happened a lot in order for this practice to be adopted.
It is during the espousal period that we find Joseph and Mary in these passages. Now take into consideration that they were separated, physically in order to prepare for their marriage and what has come up causes a great problem.
Mary is with child, she is pregnant!!!
We can learn a lot from how Joseph reacts to this situation.
Usually we think of Joseph as an older, less important character then Mary and we miss just what kind of person he was.
He was a moral merciful man
Under the Jewish law, this constituted infidelity, or adultery, and Mary could be stoned to death for such a betrayal to her husband. Joseph was in great turmoil. He must have loved her because he begins thinking of how to spare her the embarrassment and possible death.
He was a logical man
He could have chosen to divorce her publicly and made it well known that he had nothing to do with this child. He could have taken her to the town square and had her stoned to death. Yet he chose to do not the easiest but the right thing. Regardless of what people would whisper and gossip about them
He was a dreamer
The angel came to him and told him what God was doing. He listened and did as he was bidden. He didn’t just put it away from his mind either, he arose and took her to be his wife
The virgin birth was as hard to believe then as it has been these days by the scoffers. The enemies of Jesus knew, even when He began His earthly ministry that there were suspicious circumstances surrounding his parents
37 “I know that you are Abraham’s descendants, but you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you. 38 I speak what I have seen with My Father, and you do what you have seen with your father.”
39 They answered and said to Him, “Abraham is our father.”
Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would do the works of Abraham. 40 But now you seek to kill Me, a Man who has told you the truth which I heard from God. Abraham did not do this. 41 You do the deeds of your father.”
Then they said to Him, “We were not born of fornication; we have one Father—God.”
42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me.
There were rumors everywhere even that Mary had become pregnant from a Roman soldier, but the record is set straight here in the Gospels. What strength these two precious people of God showed because it could not have been easy. They most assuredly would have been the object of ridicule, whispering, and gossip. All the while knowing the truth that no one would beleive