The Journey to Jesus We Take
Matt. 1:18-25; Luke 1:26-56
It is often underappreciated what Joseph and Mary had to go through to be part of God's plan. Insecurity. Anger. Dissapointment. Ridicule. Sound like fun? Yet this was not just two people who were chosen to do something a little out of the ordinary but to actually bring God into flesh! If that isn't the craziest reality for humans to comprehend then there is none. One would think that if God were putting this scenario together for some people to follow, then He would make sure He would choose the most qualified men and women and make sure their lives would have the least drama. But no. God chooses two people that no one would choose for this 'job'. Poor, no influence, unsettled. Sounds like a disaster waiting to happen. Lets look at the way God took the two of them on their journey to bring His Son into the world.
The Road—Joseph was probably a young man in his early twenties when he met Mary. In ancient Israel, Jewish men would contact the father of a woman they were interested in (many times a relative) and set up a meeting. If the meeting went well, terms of a marriage were drawn up and the couple then started a time of ‘betrothal’. Betrothal was a legally binding marital contract that could only be nullified by a divorce certificate. Betrothal usually lasted about a year as the man would begin to work and build a home until the marriage ceremony.
The Journey—As part of the betrothal Joseph was not allowed to spend much unsupervised time with Mary and, though legally married, sexual contact was forbidden. Upon finding out Mary was pregnant, he planned to divorce her without making a public spectacle out of it. Though he felt ‘cheated’ on, he was a righteous man who deeply loved Mary and didn’t want to embarrass her or have her stoned as an ‘adulteress’. Upon hearing from the angel though, Joseph, against all human reason, took Mary into his home (that he built as part of the marital contract—v 24) and affirmed the fact of her divine pregnancy. The angel told him that this Child would ‘save His people from their sins’. Joseph accepted that the will of God was to responsibly raise this Child that was not his own.
The Road—Mary was probably a teenager when she was introduced to Joseph. After meeting him and spending time together, Mary would then make her feelings about Joseph known to her father and he would present Joseph with the marriage agreement. Just as with Joseph, Mary agreed to sexual abstinence and purity as part of the contract. As a young Jewish woman her desire was to honor God and her future husband by preparing herself for marriage. This would involve learning domestic skills to run a home and preparation for becoming a wife and mother. Mary was an ordinary woman looking forward to her marriage.
The Journey—During the time of her betrothal to Joseph, an angel presented her with the news that she would become pregnant. Being a virgin she was understandably confused as to how or why. The angel informs her that the Holy Spirit will cause her to become pregnant without a man and that the Child inside her will be the ‘Son of God’. Instead of rebelling at the thought of what it will cost her, Mary accepts the announcement and calls herself ‘the slave of the Lord’ (v 38). As part of God’s will, Mary would bear the stigma of a promiscuous woman though she was innocent. In fact, instead of complaining that God had ‘messed with her plans’, she breaks out into a beautiful outburst of praise when she meets Elizabeth (v 46-55). Being a young woman Mary has an amazing grasp of scripture and evidences a deep devotion to God cultivated from a life of obedience. Though poor, by submitting to God she not only brought the Savior into the world but became the most famous woman in history!
Where are you at on your journey with Jesus today? Feeling discouraged? Excited? Ready to take the next step in your walk with God? Ready to start your journey? Good. Realize that no matter where you are at, God meets you there and can work with your current situation.
The journey of Joseph and Mary changed history and eternity. It wasn't easy and drama-free but it had God's supervision and love and approval. And in the end that's all that matters.
Posted on Fri, December 7, 2012
by Jim Jackson filed under