Summary: To establish that Joseph was the father of another’s son. He took upon himself a bride, which was with child by another. This lesson honors and commends men like Joseph, who became fathers of another’s son! It also deals with the human drama; of a perceived betrayal of Mary, to her marriage vows.
1. Joseph’s Bride
2. Joseph’s Burden
3. Joseph’s Blessing
1. This lesson deals with a just and honorable man, that took upon himself to be the father of another’s son; a child that was not his own through conception. There are many men like Joseph today, in our modern society. I want to honor them - on this - Father’s Day Celebration. There are many, which have taken upon themselves to be a father, to another’s son or daughter. The only apparent reason I see; is they have fallen in love with a wonderful woman, who has been left with child, and without a dad. We all know the spiritual implications of Mary’s conception, and its blessing to all mankind. However, what has become lost in this miracle as I see it; is the human drama that Joseph faced regarding his situation. It is to this I desire to speak about in this lesson; on this Father’s Day Celebration. May God bless each of you richly!
2. First, we will consider Joseph’s bride and betrothal of this union. What we find in our Scripture lesson; is a good man discovering that his betrothal (sweet heart) is with child. Months before the wedding this is learned; and it was without him “knowing her;” but, as a result of someone else. His bride is now with child; but the baby is not his. What does this mean regarding his bride? What does this mean regarding their future together? What does the Law - require? All these questions bring us to our next thought.
3. Second, we will discuss Joseph’s burden as he contemplates this union. This will be no easy decision. Our text reads: “Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily,” Matthew 1:19. Matthew describes Joseph as a “just man” not willing to make his bride a spectacle of society. He determined to put her away privately – without public notice and without shame. We find in these words the real character of Joseph – one within the lineage of Christ – a heart of love and compassion for Mary. How many men today, would be of the same mind with their bride?
4. Finally, we will address Joseph’s blessing regarding this union. As a result of an angel’s visit; Joseph has found the confidence and purpose, for moving forward with the marriage. He was not marrying damaged goods – but a virgin still. He believed the angel’s message: “Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her (womb) is of the Holy Ghost,” Matthew 1:20. Many families today have been likewise blessed by “good men” that looked past the event of conception; and assumed the responsibilities of a father, to another’s son or daughter. It was not the announcement of an angel that compelled these unions; but, the love for a wonderful woman – and for a child who needed a daddy. Sisters, if God has blessed you with a good man; teach your children to love him as you do; and remind them that he is “their father” not through conception – but by love and acceptance! With this introduction, let’s consider Joseph’s bride.
BODY OF LESSON
I JOSEPH’S BRIDE
A. Mary's espousal to Joseph. Mary, the mother of our Lord, was espoused to Joseph, not completely married, but in a proposal of marriage; given in words - a solemn promise made, in the presence of God and family. This we will do “if the Lord so wills.” Luke’s gospel reveals that just prior to Mary’s visit to her Cousin Elizabeth’s house; the angel of the Lord appeared and revealed unto her that she will be with child, Luke 1:26-56. Observe,
1. The Chasity and Character of Mary:
a. She was a virgin, and espoused unto Joseph.
b. Highly favored; the Lord was with her.
c. Called blessed among women.
d. She found favor with God.
e. She considered herself, the Lord’s handmaid.
NOTE: Illustrate: The Promise of Mary to Joseph. Like our engagement, but there was no: “Diamond Ring,” or, a getaway “honey moon” in the future.
2. The sign given by the prophet. The Messiah shall be born of a virgin, Isaiah 7:14. A virgin shall conceive, and, by her, He shall be manifested in the flesh, 1 Timothy 4:16. The word “virgin” in Gr., is parthenos, which signifies a virgin in the strictest sense, such is spoken of Mary at the angel’s visit, in Luke 1:26-27. Observe,
a. First, “And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favor with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus...Then said Mary unto the angel, how (can) this be; seeing I know not a man?” See Luke 1:30-34.