Day 3 : WORLD-SHATTERING NEWS Matt. 1:18
“Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to quietly divorce her.”
I’m afraid we read too quickly through that verse and miss most of the weight and reality of it.
Joseph was a man, a real-life, human man, an engaged-to-be-married man. He has just stopped by to see his beautiful fiance’ who has been gone for 3 months to visit her pregnant cousin Elizabeth and finds out that...she is pregnant!
Let that sit for a minute or two.
Personalize that if you can.
Think relationally - What is he to think of his fiance’?
What is the cost to them relationally?
“And her husband Joseph...resolved to quietly divorce her.”
We don’t know how long this process took - there is no timeline given. How is it that he comes to the decision? It says, “her husband Joseph”. But they are not married yet? Is that just a typo or is it a glimpse into our answer. Maybe in Joseph’s mind/heart, Mary is already his bride. Some of this is a cultural reality - engagement (betrothal) bore essentially the same weight as marriage. But it also speaks to Joseph heart and love for this woman. She is “bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh” to him already. But she is pregnant and the baby is not his!
She insists that it is God’s, you know, by the Holy Spirit.
Can we process that for a while? What in the world is he to do with that as the explanation?
How is he to think about her, feel about her?
So now he has a choice as to how he will respond: bitterness, hurt, resentment, betrayal, anger - all self-focused emotions, “Why has this been done to ME?”.... or “unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to quietly divorce her.” - to be more concerned with Mary than himself. Where does that come from in a man? How is he able to get there? Here is a window into who this man is.
Morning Pause: Can we spend the day trying to understand and learn from Joseph? Where have you experienced a similar crushing surprise?
Afternoon Pause: Take a few minutes to reflect on where you naturally go when you feel wronged or betrayed. “Why has this happened to ME?” or something more like “unwilling to put her to shame..” Talk with the Father about your answer.
Evening Pause: Reflect on the beauty of Joseph choosing to love Mary through this tragedy, even if not with her… Pray or write your thoughts.