I love reading the Bible! God put so much in there, and after following Him all my life and reading the Bible all my life I feel like I am still a beginner in my Bible study. The more I learn from the Bible, the more I realize I don't know. Yesterday, as I was looking through the genealogy of Jesus I went back and looked at Genesis for some reference. In that process, I noticed something that I didn't even see while going through the book. I love how I can read same story, yet God opens my eyes to something new. When you experience that, you know that is the work of the Holy Spirit in your heart revealing what you need to know for the moment you are in. So, even if you are familiar with the Gospels, pray that God would give you fresh eyes and ears to learn something you need to learn today. Please read Matthew 1:18-25.
Something I want to point out about the culture and engagements - if you were engaged it was the same as marriage. So when two people were engaged, you didn't just break off the engagement it was a process that would be equal to a divorce for a marriage. The main difference between engagement and marriage was that the couple wouldn't live together or have sexual relations while engaged. So, with that said, Mary becoming pregnant while they were still engaged showed a couple of huge social implications. First, we are told that this happened because of the Holy Spirit while she was still a virgin; however, how would the people in the town believe that? The other problem was that Joseph knew that he didn't have sexual relations with her, so he must have believed that she slept with someone else.
But there is something we learn about Joseph's character that allows us to see a small picture of why God chose him to raise the Messiah. We are told that Joseph was a good man and that he chose to divorce Mary quietly. He didn't want to publicly humiliate her even though he was probably very hurt at this point. He would have had every right to point her out for the wrong she had done, but instead he remained quiet. While he was sleeping, an angel came and visited him in his dream. Notice the amazing greeting: "Joseph, son of David." We learn in the genealogy that a man named Jacob was his father, so was this angel wrong? Absolutely not! This angel was pointing out the royal line that Joseph was from - the line of King David. I think this was important because there was prophecy saying that the Messiah would come from the line of David. Joseph knew that was his family because genealogy was very important to the Jewish culture; however, this greeting was also another way to point out the prophecy of the Messiah. This was setting Joseph up for the rest of the story.
The other thing that was amazing was that Joseph did what he was told and took Mary as his wife. Can you imagine what it had to be like to wrestle with the fact that your wife conceived a child through the power of the Holy Spirit? Imagine how he must have felt knowing that he was raising a child that would save people from their sins. Do you think he understood after all the angel told him that he would be raising the Messiah - the long awaited One? Joseph and Mary were ordinary people like you and me who loved and honored God. They were not angels or super-humans. They faced the same trials we face. But they both accepted the job gave them to do. God may be placing a burden on your heart that seems beyond your ability, but know you are not alone. Paul wrote about what God told him about his weaknesses in 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NLT), "Each time he said, 'My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.' So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me." God's power works through us to show His strength all the more.
Do you have a difficult task before you? Do you believe in God's strength working in you?
This post is linked with On Your Heart Tuesday and Soli Deo Gloria.