Saturday, December 5

Read Matthew 1:18-23

Having read or heard the story so many times, we tend to overlook many of the intricate details of these events, and how they affected the lives of the people. The birth of God’s Son into the world was one of the most disturbing events in human history, and for several reasons:

  • There was Mary’s pregnancy – the idea of the Messiah being born to an unwed mother was a thought no one had ever considered. The idea she would be the woman to give birth to the Messiah was a thought Mary had never considered. How do you think Mary felt; knowing she was in the will of God, but also knowing the tongues were wagging behind her back, even among the members of her own family?
  • There was Joseph’s dilemma – the shock of hearing of Mary’s condition broke his heart, not only because it cast doubt on Mary’s moral integrity, but also because of the position it put him in regarding her future. In that day, Mary could have been stoned to death.
    • Had Joseph, who was 17, and Mary, who was 12-14 years of age, not disregarded the criticism they were receiving, and surrendered their lives unto God’s use, what could have happened regarding God’s plan of redemption?
    • We can be thankful the “pro-abortion” crowd didn’t get to Joseph and Mary. Think about it!
  • There was the place of Jesus’ birth – even though that was arranged by God to fulfill biblical prophecy, that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem, the city of David, Joseph and Mary still had to endure the shame of spending that night in a cave. Do you think they had questions about why God was allowing His Son to be born in such a horrible place? Had they misheard what the Angel Gabriel had said to them?
  • There was the quick move to Egypt – again, two teenagers, willing to obey the prompting of the Holy Spirit without question; without considering their personal safety or knowing how they would survive in a foreign nation. How would these two young people explain this quick move to their families?
  • There was the slaughter of children under two years of age – even though the warning of such a slaughter was the reason Joseph and Mary moved to Egypt, when they heard the news of the actual slaughter it had to disturb them. How much more could these two teenagers take in their willingness to be the father and mother of the very Son of God?
  • There was the visit of the Magi – showing that the birth of the Messiah had affected other foreign nations. When the wise men showed up, about two years after the Lord’s birth, they too were in the limelight; they too were reminded of the value of this special child and their responsibility to be His parents.
  • There was the uproar at Herod’s house – while they were both respectful and obedient to their elders and religious authorities, being the parents of the Son of God caused them to have to stand against the rules of man, and to obey the Word of God.

Jewish marriage customs were far different from those couples follow today, especially in the West. In that day, most marriages were arranged by the parents of the bride and groom, and often without consulting either of them. A contract price was set, which the groom’s parents paid, which meant the couple was “legally married”. This betrothal period would last a year, when the marriage ceremony would be held, and the marriage union would be consummated physically.

It was during this betrothal period that angel Gabriel visited Mary and told her of her impending pregnancy. That’s why she asked, “How could this be, seeing I have not known a man?” And even though Joseph agreed to take her as his wife, he had no physical union with Mary until she gave birth to God’s Son, and he (Joseph) gave Him the name, Jesus.

We may find the above custom difficult to comprehend, but it is an exact picture of our relationship with Christ.  God the Father set the contract price for our redemption, and Jesus paid that price for all those who will believe in Him. As the Bride of Christ, we are legally married to the Groom, Jesus, Who has gone to prepare a place for us to live with Him forever. On the day, which is soon to come, the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout – “come forth”, and we will rise to meet Him in the air. The marriage ceremony will be held at the Father’s House, and while the guests are enjoying the marriage feast, we will be physically united with the One who purchased us with His blood. Amen and Amen. Maranatha!