Joseph - A Man of Honor, Protection and Sacrifice
"Joseph, her fiancé, was a good man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly."
After Mary was visited by the angel, she went to see Elizabeth who was in her sixth month of pregnancy. She stayed with her until Elizabeth delivered John the Baptist. Mary then would have been three months pregnant when she returned to Nazareth.
Mary was betrothed to Joseph which was the same as being married but the couple did not live together until after a wedding. There was to be no wedding for Mary and Joseph.
The Bible tells us that Joseph was a “good man” (Matthew 1:19).
Whether Joseph loved Mary or if it was an arranged marriage we do not know. He was surely taken off guard to learn that his betrothed is pregnant. In that culture he could have had her stoned to death. Or he could have simply let her suffer the shame and humiliation of a seemingly adulterous act to the people of that town.
The Bible tells us that he “did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly” (Matthew 1:19). In other words, Joseph was thinking, I’m going to say that I can’t marry her now, but I’m certainly not going to publicly shame Mary, either.
What do you think people were whispering when Mary returned pregnant?
While he was debating what to do, an angel appeared to Joseph and told him, “Do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (verses 20–21).
The angel said to take her as his "wife" not as his betrothed. At this point Mary, as his wife, would live in Joseph's house.
He could have walked away, even after he heard the truth from the angel. That was a lot for him to absorb. However, he obeyed.
He stood by Mary as his wife and she lived with him in Nazareth for the next six months of her pregnancy until the time for them to go to Bethlehem for the census. Imagine going 90 miles on foot or by donkey being nine months pregnant!
When God uses a person, there is often a sacrifice to make, but you will look back later in life and be glad that you obeyed.
What sacrifices do you think Joseph made for his reputation and that of his business?
What are some of the lessons we can learn from Joseph?