Summary: To establish that Joseph was the father of another’s son; willing to take upon himself a bride that was with child by another. This is not a lesson defending the virgin birth; but in honor of men like Joseph who became fathers of another’s son!
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 wanted to honor them on this Father’s Day. There are many like me that have taken upon them to be a father to another’s son or daughter. The only reason in most cases is because of the love they have for the woman who have been left with the child, and without a father. 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. 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 learning that his betrothal (sweet heart) is with child. Months before the wedding this is discovered; and he knows that this pregnancy was not as a result of him “knowing Mary” in an affectionate manner; but as a result of someone else. His bride is now with child; but the child 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 would be no easy decision. Our text states: “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 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 promised bride?
4. Finally, we will address Joseph’s blessing regarding this union. As a result of the 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.” Many families today have been likewise blessed by “good men” that looks past the event of conception; and assumed the responsibilities as a father of 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 father. 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 though conception – but by love and acceptance! With this introduction, let’s consider Joseph’s bride.
I JOSEPH’S BRIDE
A. Mary's espousal to Joseph. Mary, the mother of our Lord, was espoused to Joseph, not completely married, but contracted in marriage; a purpose of marriage solemnly declared in words - that regarding the future, and a promise of marriage made before God. This we will do “if the Lord 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. Illustrate: The Promise of Mary to Joseph. Like our engagement, but no diamond Ring.
1. Let's consider the Chasity and character of Mary:
a. She was a virgin, and espoused unto Joseph.
b. Highly favored; the Lord was with her.
c. Blessed among women.
d. She found favor with God.
e. The handmaid of the Lord.
2. The sign given is that the Messiah shall be born of a virgin. A virgin shall conceive, and, by her, he shall be manifested in the flesh. The word “virgin” in Greek is: “Parthenos,” which signifies a virgin in the strictest sense, such as Mary proved herself to be. Notice: “Then said Mary unto the angel, how shall this be, seeing I know not a man?” See Luke 1:34. Mary is saying to the angel: “I have not known a man; nor am I married yet.” Either one of these would keep me from conceiving a child at this time.