Wednesday, November 9, 2016

JOSEPH AND MARY - By Elvin C. Myers



JOSEPH AND MARY
By Elvin C. Myers


Scripture Reading: Matthew 1:18

What do we know about Joseph and Mary? Not much,  but then the Gospel record is not about them but about the  Lord Jesus Christ. We do not know how they met or what  family arrangements were made for their betrothal. It is  suggested by many scholars that Mary was a young woman,  probably in her middle teens, when the betrothal was  arranged and the marriage took place. This was the rule  rather than the exception in Bible times. Matthew 1:18 says  Mary was espoused to Joseph. This was equivalent to today's  custom of engagement. The betrothal could last as long as a  year and was as binding as marriage itself. A public ceremony  announced the betrothal. A marriage feast made the marriage  official.

A major issue of the betrothal was the dowry which was  negotiated between the families of the prospective groom and  bride. When all was agreed upon, the two were considered  husband and wife but did not live together as such until the  marriage feast.

It was during the betrothal that Mary's conception took  place. When Mary told Joseph of her condition and that it  was an act of the Holy Spirit, he did not believe her. Who  would? His intent was to quietly "put her away," which was  considered a divorce. Only one thing kept Joseph from  putting Mary away and that was God's intervention. He sent  His angel Gabriel to tell Joseph in a dream that Mary's  explanation was correct and that he was to marry her.

Three things may be safely assumed.

1) The betrothal period was nearly ended when Mary  conceived. Matthew 1:19 says they were considered husband  and wife, so that means all negotiations were completed.

2)  2) Mary told Joseph of the conception as soon as she learned it.

 3) No other man in all Israel could have served as the  father of Jesus, for Joseph would have been the king ofIsrael  had there been a kingdom. Not one other man in all Israel  could have filled this role.

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