I have begun reading through the book of Matthew now with my Good Morning Girls Bible study group. What a blessing!
We all read the first couple chapters of Matthew so often around Christmas time, and we know the story so well that we may have failed at times to really slow down and see what we can learn from these passages.
As I was reading Matthew chapter 1, I was struck with the amazing faith and courage that was displayed by both Mary and Joseph.
Mary was probably very young, most likely just a teenager when she became aware that she would be the mother of the Messiah! She was a virgin, so it seemed rather impossible. But she had taken God at His Word and was faithfully carrying out His will.
But it must have caused a stir in the community. She was betrothed to a good and decent man, a carpenter named Joseph. At that time, an engagement was just as serious as a marriage in that it was very binding and difficult to break off. Joseph probably felt very betrayed and confused when he found Mary with child. He knew for a fact that he was not the Child's father. The only rational explanation was that Mary had been unfaithful. And it tore at his heart.
Mary of course knew in her heart that she had been fully faithful to Joseph and to God. But yet she still no doubt felt very frightened and lonely at this time as people around her began to just "assume" the worst about her situation. What a horrible feeling to know that you are in God's favor and yet people are treating you as if you have done something very sinful.
Joseph was a truly good man. He loved Mary. He did not want to shame Mary publicly, although legally he had the right to do so. I can just imagine the struggle he must have felt inside!! I am sure being a just man he would have sought the Lord for wisdom to know what to do in what must have seemed an awkward and painful situation.
Then in the midst of Joseph's thinking and praying, God sent an angel to him with news that must have sounded entirely too good to be true!!
Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. (Matthew 1:20-21)
This had to shock Joseph! Nothing like this had ever happened before, nor has it happened since. Babies just don't come that way...fact of life! It must have taken every ounce of faith and trust in God for Joseph to do what he did next.
Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took Mary unto him his wife: and knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS. (Matthew 1:24-25)
What a comfort this must have been to Mary at this time! To know that the man she loved believed her and was willing to join her in this most amazing journey to which they had been called as the earthly parents and caretakers of the divine Son of God!
How often does God call us to do something that seems totally unnatural to our sense of reasoning? How do we respond to it? Do we answer in faith and obedience? Or do we scoff and rebel in unbelief?
There was nothing divine about Mary or Joseph. Mary was not a part of the Godhead as some erroneously teach. But she was an amazing woman for sure who went through so much for the honor of being the mother of Christ. And Joseph is an amazing model Godly manhood. He was a man who was willing to lay it all on the line for His God and for the woman he loved!
How would you have felt had you been in Mary or Joseph's shoes? How strong is your faith in the Lord? Let's talk about it in the comments!!
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