Mary and Joseph
Isaiah 7:14 ESV
Matthew 1:18-25 ESV
Luke 1:26-45 ESV
Luke 2:7 ESV
I John 4:16 (God is love)
A Story of Love Series
If mankind ever doubted God’s love before Jesus was born, died, and the Spirit of God came to reside IN believers, that love was made very clear!
Most assuredly, the prophets knew and foretold that a savior was coming. In Isaiah 7:14 we read, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”
The Hebrew word Immanuel is ‘El and means God and specifically God with us. The common term for God in the Old Testament is Elohim and ‘El is the singular form of that Word (https://www.blueletterbible.org/faq/don_stewart/don_stewart_1303.cfm).
Long before Jesus was born, the prophet saw the Virgin.
We are not given details in scripture about the ages of Mary and Joseph when they married but we do know that at the time it was common for a girl to marry around the age of 12 years old. Hebrew girls could marry as soon as they were able to bear children. We also know that Hebrew men needed to have an established trade so they could support a family. The man was also responsible for housing. So a Hebrew man needed to own a home in order to be able to marry. In many cases that meant a husband would have been around 30 years old.
We also know that at the time Jesus was crucified Joseph’s name was not mentioned, meaning he was no longer living. Average life expectancy varied based on living conditions, but an average age for a man could have been between 30-50 years. If Joseph was 30 years old at the time Jesus was born, he would have been 60+ or older at the time of Jesus’ death. We do know that Mary was present at the crucifixion. If she was a young teenage girl when Jesus was born she would have been 42+ years old when He died.
We know from scripture that Mary was betrothed to Joseph and it was common at the time that arrangements were made with the parents of the bride and groom (https://www.gotquestions.org/Joseph-and-Mary.html).
In Matthew 1:18-25 we read, “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 divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.”
Even though the union between Mary and Joseph had not been consummated, the arrangement had been set and Joseph was considered to be her husband. We know from Matthew 1:19 that Joseph was a just man and he did not want Mary to be put to shame. Mary could have been stoned for being with child prior to the marriage being consummated. All signs point to the likelihood that Joseph already loved Mary and was trying to protect her. To protect her, he was planning to divorce her quietly.
We also know from scripture that Mary and Joseph were both told separately by the Angel Gabriel that the child was conceived by the Spirit. In Matthew 1:20-21 we read that the Angel Gabriel visited Joseph and told him Mary was a virgin and in Luke 1:26-33 the Angel Gabriel was sent to Mary to tell her she would conceive a son by the Holy Spirit.
In Luke 1:26-45 we learn, “In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin's name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
In Luke 1:34-35 we see that when Mary received the visit from Gabriel she questioned the Angel about how she would conceive? There is indication that Mary was concerned about how to explain the pregnancy, to her family and to Joseph.
Mary’s question and the Angel’s response is found in Luke 1:34-35, “And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God.”
The Angel gave Mary instructions in Luke 1:36-45, “And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.” And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”
When Mary visited Elizabeth she was given confirmation of all she had been told. We know from Luke 2:7, that Mary “gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.”
While Mary remained a Virgin until after Jesus was born, scripture tells us that both Mary and Joseph received separate visits from the Angel Gabriel and that Mary’s relative Elizabeth received confirmation that Mary’s child was holy.
It’s difficult for us to imagine how carrying the holy child (Mary) and caring for the holy child (Joseph) would have greatly expanded the love Mary and Joseph had for each other. We do know that Jesus (God) is love (1 John 4:16) and that love was poured out upon His parents.
Today’s Spiritual Practice is: Believe in God’s Love
As we face difficult situations and circumstances it can be difficult to believe that God’s love is real for us. Love from God is active but it is also a feeling. Spend time loving God. Once you turn to God the Spirit of God lives IN You. Love God IN you.
In God, Deborah
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