Summary: Part of the Christmas Wonder PowerPak
Life is a journey/ an adventure. And as we journey on the road of life we sometimes encounter unexpected curves:
· The medical report you didn’t expect
· The accident you didn’t see coming
· The job being over
· Having a baby
· Losing a baby
· Losing someone without warning
Mary and Joseph knew about curves in the road. In fact, the Christmas story is a story with unexpected events and curves in the road.
Let’s join the journey of Mary and Joseph as we explore how to deal with the unexpected curves on the journey of life.
Who she is…
· Cousin to Elizabeth
· Perhaps of the tribe of Levi, perhaps a descendant of David since her mother was from Bethlehem
· Parents were Joachim of Nazareth and Anna of Bethlehem.
· Sister was Salome, wife of Zebedee, mother of James and John.
· Sexually Pure and Moral
· Woman of Faith
· Willing Servant
· Attitude of Praise
· Give birth to and be the mother of God’s Son.
Who he is…
· Tradition says that Joseph was a widower, an older man.
· Taxpayer - Luke 2:1-5
· Common Man
· Carpenter – probably good with details. Measure twice before you cut once.
· Sexually Pure (Matt. 1:18)
· Man of Integrity (Matt. 1:19) – Look at his reaction when he discovered Mary was pregnant.
· Man of Faith
· Sensitive (Matt. 1:19) – not a cruel, cold hearted individual
· Level-headed (Matt. 1:20) – thought about and reflected on situations rather than simply reacting.
· Spiritual (Matt. 1:20, 2:13) – he as in touch with his God
· Obedient (Matt. 1:24,25; 2:13,14) – we see Joseph obeying God immediately.
· Willing Servant – Willing to obey, not close-minded to something that had never been done before.
· He was chosen by God to be the earthly father to Jesus. He was the man God chose to raise His son.
· He was content to be a role player and not the star attraction.
· So very little is known about Joseph.
What we do know is a good example to the men of our day.
World Events: Judea was under the tyranny of Roman rule. Caesar Augustus decreed that there was to be a census and taxation of the entire Roman world. Every one had to go to their hometown to register.
In this story we learn first of all that…
1. There were unexpected curves on the journey of life.
· Mary’s pregnancy
Mary was engaged to Joseph. The marriage customs of the day include three parts: first, the promise of marriage, which may be broken or informally canceled; second, the betrothal was legally ratified by both families through a covenant (often the prospective husband paid a bride price at this time) with an intent to finalize the marriage vows at the appropriate time; finally, the groom went on the marriage day to the home of his bride to bring her into his home (cp. Dt2223-24; 28-29 note the distinction between these two events).
Joseph and Mary were at stage two, and though the marriage was not consummated, Mary would have been considered to belong to Joseph even though she continued to live with her parents for a year or more after their formal engagement. A formal engagement of a year or more before the consummation of the marriage was not uncommon. Sometimes it was because the bride was too young, sometimes the groom needed the time to establish himself financially.
Before Mary and Joseph consummated their marriage she discovered that she was expecting a child.
Talk about a curve! Can you imagine the emotions that Mary dealt with? Here was a young lady preparing for her wedding day. She was busy making sure everything was in order and right in the middle of all of this an angel appears with some very astounding news.
Hope/Dreams: Dreams of a perfect life together. Excerpt from a wedding ceremony speaks to the Father of the Bride and says, “You have hoped, and planned, and dreamed of a life for her, of one that will be lived with a man to love and cherish her forever.
That Mary became pregnant before the wedding day has a far more serious consequence because she was formally engaged to Joseph. It seems apparent, comparing the Luke narrative with Matthew, that Mary went to visit Elizabeth immediately after the announcement from Gabriel. How Joseph discovers Mary’s pregnancy we cannot be sure; however, she would be at the end of her first trimester when she returned from her visit with Elizabeth. Joseph’s love for Mary is such that though he believes her to have been unfaithful to him, he does not seek any type of financial or punitive retribution which would have been his right under the Mosaic Law. Neighbors in the small town of Nazareth may have assumed that Joseph was the father. However, Joseph, as a morally upright man, cannot marry her and plans privately to write her a bill of divorce which would save Mary from as much public humiliation as possible (Ps 3120).