December 11 - Gabriel Reassures Joseph

Thursday, December 11, 2008

December 11 - Gabriel reassures Joseph - Matthew 1:18-25

Poor Joseph. You almost have to feel bad for the guy. He is pledged to be married to this cute young gal, Mary. She takes off to visit her cousin Elizabeth and the world finds out she is pregnant! Joseph is stuck in Jerusalem by himself. He can't talk to her, he can only face down the embarrassment and frustration of what has happened.

No wonder Mary didn't wait until John was born to return home. Luke 1:56 says that she stayed for about 3 months and then returned home. It doesn't say that she stayed through the birth (we'll get into that tomorrow). But, if Elizabeth was 6 months pregnant when Mary got there and she stayed for 3 months, the time was pretty close.

She hurried back to Nazareth.

In the meantime, Joseph was falling apart. He was going to do this as quietly as possible, but he was going to divorce her.

Until ...

An angel of the Lord shows up. Matthew doesn't tell us that this is Gabriel. Maybe he let another angel deliver this good news. Joseph didn't argue with the angel, he didn't disbelieve the angel. He simply obeyed.

The prophecy that is spoken of in Matthew 1:22-23 comes from Isaiah 7:14. The original Hebrew in Isaiah means 'young maiden' and doesn't necessarily mean 'virgin.' However, both Matthew and Luke are very clear in the Greek as they use the word virgin. They want people to know that Mary was made pregnant by the Holy Spirit. There is absolutely no chance that the child is Joseph's. This child is God's.

By the time Mary returned to Jerusalem, Joseph probably had his head back together and he took her home as his wife.

There are some wonderful traditions wrapped up in the early Hebrew wedding. The marriage of a woman and a man offers many parallels to the relationship between Jesus and His bride, the church.

Tomorrow I want to look at some of these. I think you'll really enjoy it.