Did you know that the success of Jesus being born actually was dependent on the decisions of a young engaged couple? Let’s take a fresh look at the Christmas story. The angel Gabriel appears to Mary. She was probably as young as 13-14 years old. He came with an earth shaking announcement. “Mary, you are highly favored. You are chosen by God to fulfill the age old prophecy. The power of God will overshadow you and you will bear the Messiah, baby Jesus.”
Mary chose to believe it. But now she has a problem. She has to explain this to the man she is engaged to marry. It’s also important to understand that a Jewish engagement was much deeper than the engagement we are used to in the western world. It pretty much means you are married, without the physical consummation.
You have to read between the lines to get the import about what happened in Matthew 1:18-25.
Mary tries to explain this to Joseph. Maybe the conversation went something like this, “Joseph, we need to talk. How do I put this? Uhhh, well…Joseph…listen, I’m going to have a baby. But it’s not like you think! I don’t have a boyfriend. Actually, this baby’s father is…God! I know that sounds crazy, but Joseph, God has chosen me to bear the Messiah that we have read about in the scriptures.”
Matthew 1:19 (NLT) Joseph, her fiancé, was a good man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly.
It’s pretty clear. Joseph wasn’t buying her story. He didn’t believe her. In fact, according to Jewish law, he could have had her stoned to death (Deuteronomy 22:21). But he doesn’t want to shame her and have her killed. He at first decides to break up with her behind the scene.
Matthew 1:20 (NLT) As he considered this…Stop right there.
The term”considered this” from the original Greek language actually carries deeper meaning here. The word means he “pondered, deliberated”, (went over and over it) was “inspirited” (meaning he was upset).
Joseph was troubled as he thought about what Mary had told him. He didn’t know what to think. But thank God he didn’t act rashly. He actually decided to sleep on it. And because he did, God was able to speak to him.
Back to verse 20…an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit.
Joseph heard from God through a dream. But what if Joseph had reacted quickly before the dream? What if in his anger he had Mary stoned? When you think about it that way, you see that the birth of the Messiah was dependent on the decisions and faith of 2 people about to be married.
What’s my point? God used 2 imperfect people through the holy union of marriage to bring about His plan.
In the same way we are supposed to bring forth the Messiah in our marriage. Not the physical Messiah, but our marriage is supposed to tell others, “Jesus is alive.”
God has a plan and vision for your marriage. He wants to help you fulfill your divine purpose and as you do, His light will shine to the world.
Jesus was received into a marriage before he was received into the world. I think that speaks to us today. It’s hard to do marriage alone. But you don’t have to struggle alone anymore. He wants to and can help you in your marriage in this Christmas season, no matter what you may be facing. You just have to invite Him in.
I can personally attest to the fact that my marriage to Trudi never went anywhere until we both welcomed Jesus in.
Marriage is not just 2 people. It is designed to be lived out with 3 people: you, your spouse, and the power of the Holy Spirit.
Ecclesiastes 4:9 Two [are] better than one, Because they have a good reward for their labor. 12 Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
Be like Mary and Joseph. Invite Jesus in. Declare it over your family. Christ is born! Merry Christmas fromKen and Trudi