31 Days of the Christmas Story from Genesis to John: Day 18 – Joseph is engaged to Mary

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The Christmas story now switches to the book of Matthew for more details about Mary’s engagement to Joseph. The author Matthew was originally a tax collector, an occupation that was considered the lowest class of sinners in those days. Yet Jesus dines with him and his rebellious group of friends in his home, an act that would have been improper to be associated with such sinners. After the dinner party with Jesus, Matthew gives up everything to follow Jesus and becomes one of his twelve disciples.

In the beginning of the book of Matthew, he lists the genealogy from Abraham to King David, and from David to the Babylonian exile, and from the exile to Joseph, the husband of Mary. Joseph was a legal heir to the throne through King David’s son Solomon but neither he nor his children could be the biological heir because of his ancestor Jehoiakim’s curse from God. The curse states that because of Jehoiakim’s evil ways, none of his descendants would ever sit on the throne. Now, Joseph is told the news that Mary is carrying a holy child. Joseph’s story is certainly no small detail in this Christmas story.

We are not told exactly how Mary told Joseph, but Matthew does give us an account. Can you imagine how that conversation went?

Matthew 1:18-19
“This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.”

Joseph could have had Mary stoned and saved his own reputation by making a public example of her. Joseph was a carpenter by trade, and this might possibly have affected his business too. Mary, knowing the possibilities that awaited her, still continued on. Joseph must have been a man of great restraint, mercy and humility. He was chosen by God to be Jesus’ earthly father, to provide for him and protect him. What an honor. That was no insignificant thing.

May you reach out to our Heavenly Father, who shows us the way for mercy, love and unending forgiveness.

* Merry Christmas *

In Jesus’ Words: Mercy not Sacrifice (Matthew 12:1-14)

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Jesus said, “I desire mercy and not sacrifice. For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.” (Matthew 12:7-8)

Sacrifice is what we do for ourselves.

Mercy is what we do for others.

Sacrifice is what we do to save ourselves.

Mercy requires someone else to save us.

Sacrifice is about us.

Mercy is about Jesus.

I saw a woman being interviewed on television this week, in response to the Chattanooga shootings in her hometown.  When she spoke, her expression was kind, not angry, and her voice was calm but with a pleading sadness to it.  It caught my attention as I looked up from my work.

“We need to learn to love people,” she said.

It sounded as if Jesus was speaking through her.

~ Matthew 12:1-14  Lord of the Sabbath~

At that time Jesus passed through the grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry and began to pick and eat some heads of grain. But when the Pharisees saw it, they said to Him, “Look, Your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath!”

He said to them, “Haven’t you read what David did when he and those who were with him were hungry—how he entered the house of God, and they ate the sacred bread, which is not lawful for him or for those with him to eat, but only for the priests?  Or haven’t you read in the Law that on Sabbath days the priests in the temple violate the Sabbath and are innocent?  But I tell you that something greater than the temple is here!  If you had known what this means: I desire mercy and not sacrifice you would not have condemned the innocent.  For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”

Moving on from there, He entered their synagogue. There He saw a man who had a paralyzed hand. And in order to accuse Him they asked Him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”

But He said to them, “What man among you, if he had a sheep that fell into a pit on the Sabbath, wouldn’t take hold of it and lift it out? A man is worth far more than a sheep, so it is lawful to do what is good on the Sabbath.” Then He told the man, “Stretch out your hand.” So he stretched it out, and it was restored, as good as the other.  But the Pharisees went out and plotted against Him, how they might destroy Him.

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