Joseph's obedience to God and the way he honored his bride was remarkable. We see Joseph in the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew 1:16, but his phrase is different. Thirty-nine times the passage says, "the father of", but with Joseph it states, "the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ."
The passage goes on to give us some more important Information in v 18-25. Mary (age 13-15) was betrothed to Joseph (age 17-19), which is like an engagement, but with much more commitment. They had entered into a Ketubah, which is a marriage contract that includes a bride price and a dowry. The bride price was paid by the groom's family to help with the loss of income that came with the bride leaving the family. The dowry is what the bride brings into the new family to give commitment. In times of divorce, the bride would have security with the dowry if the husband left. If the wife left, the groom would keep the dowry. Once the betrothal was official, the two were in essence "married".
One of the most important aspects of this betrothal was that they did not consummate the marriage until the wedding celebration that happened about a year later. Once it was time for the wedding, it was a 7-day celebration that began with the bride and groom privately consummating the marriage and then rejoining the wedding celebration. One of the keys to this portion of the ceremony was that the bride would prove that she was a virgin. If she was not, she would reap great shame upon her family. During times of the Old Testament, this would be grounds for stoning the bride. At this time in history, it would have meant that Mary and her family would have been ostracized.
So during the year of betrothal, Mary was pregnant. Joseph would have been heart-broken. He had decided to "divorce her quietly", which would have been very kind to Mary and her family in that they would have avoided much of the shame that would surely come their way.
Thankfully, an angel of the Lord came to Joseph and told him that Mary had conceived by the Holy Spirit. Joseph woke up and "he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus."
Joseph was so unlikely because he had an uncommon "yes". He did what the angel commanded him to do. The Bible simply says, "he did". That took great faith and a willingness to be questioned, mocked, and shamed. Joseph's obedience outweighed all of that.
To Discuss Today:
1. Is your heart soft enough to hear whatever God is asking you to do? Are you abiding in Him?
2. Do you have an uncommon "yes" that you need to commit to? What is it?