It is Christmas week 2014 and the excitement is building for those family traditions, the great food, all the gifts, and for Christians the celebration of birth of our Savoir Jesus. As Christians we have faith in God and because of our faith in God and His word, along with the indwelling Holy Spirt, we know that Jesus was born of a virgin. This week, in my next few blog posts, I want to talk about others who had faith in connection with the birth of Jesus. At least one of these people will surprise you but you’ll find out who that is in a future post. I’m starting with Joseph.
The Faith of Joseph
Let’s start with what happened when Joseph found out that his fiancé, Mary, was pregnant and not by him.
Matthew 1:18-19 (HCSB) 18 The birth of Jesus Christ came about this way: After His mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, it was discovered before they came together that she was pregnant by the Holy Spirit. 19 So her husband Joseph, being a righteous man, and not wanting to disgrace her publicly, decided to divorce her secretly.
In accordance with the law of Moses;
Deuteronomy 22:13-29 (HCSB) 13 “If a man marries a woman, has sexual relations with her, and comes to hate her, 14 and accuses ⌊her⌋ of shameful conduct, and gives her a bad name, saying, ‘I married this woman and was intimate with her, but I didn’t find ⌊any⌋ evidence of her virginity,’ 15 the young woman’s father and mother will take the evidence of her virginity and bring ⌊it⌋ to the city elders at the gate. 16 The young woman’s father will say to the elders, ‘I gave my daughter to this man as a wife, but he hates her. 17 He has accused her of shameful conduct, saying: “I didn’t find ⌊any⌋ evidence of your daughter’s virginity,” but here is the evidence of my daughter’s virginity.’ They will spread out the cloth before the city elders. 18 Then the elders of that city will take the man and punish him. 19 They will also fine him 100 silver ⌊shekels⌋ and give ⌊them⌋ to the young woman’s father, because that man gave an Israelite virgin a bad name. She will remain his wife; he cannot divorce her as long as he lives. 20 But if this accusation is true and no evidence of the young woman’s virginity is found, 21 they will bring the woman to the door of her father’s house, and the men of her city will stone her to death. For she has committed an outrage in Israel by being promiscuous in her father’s house. You must purge the evil from you. 22 “If a man is discovered having sexual relations with ⌊another⌋ man’s wife, both the man who had sex with the woman and the woman must die. You must purge the evil from Israel. 23 If there is a young woman who is a virgin engaged to a man, and ⌊another⌋ man encounters her in the city and has sex with her, 24 you must take the two of them out to the gate of that city and stone them to death—the young woman because she did not cry out in the city and the man because he has violated his neighbor’s fiancée. You must purge the evil from you. 25 But if the man encounters an engaged woman in the open country, and he seizes and rapes her, only the man who raped her must die. 26 Do nothing to the young woman, because she is not guilty of an offense deserving death. This case is just like one in which a man attacks his neighbor and murders him. 27 When he found her in the field, the engaged woman cried out, but there was no one to rescue her. 28 If a man encounters a young woman, a virgin who is not engaged, takes hold of her and rapes her, and they are discovered, 29 the man who raped her must give the young woman’s father 50 silver ⌊shekels⌋, and she must become his wife because he violated her. He cannot divorce her as long as he lives
If he confessed he was not the father, Mary would be condemned as an adulteress. If he lied and claimed to be the father, the reputations of all and the qualifications of Jesus as Messiah would be tarnished.
Visit from an Angel
Matthew 1:20-25 (HCSB) 20 But after he had considered these things, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because what has been conceived in her is by the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to name Him Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.” 22 Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: 23 See, the virgin will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and they will name Him Immanuel, which is translated “God is with us.” 24 When Joseph got up from sleeping, he did as the Lord’s angel had commanded him. He married her 25 but did not know her intimately until she gave birth to a son.
His decision was to take Mary as his wife, to keep her a virgin until after the birth of Jesus, and to serve as the father of our Lord, protecting him from danger.
The reason for Joseph’s faith was a message from God, delivered by an angel in a dream.
The Content of Joseph's Faith
His fiancé, Mary, was pregnant in a unique and miraculous way, and this was fulfillment of a prophecy about Israel’s Messiah
Isaiah 7:14 (HCSB) 14 Therefore, the Lord Himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive, have a son, and name him Immanuel.
The reality of Joseph’s faith
It appeared that Mary and Joseph had an illegitimate child, and Jesus was, as such, disqualified from normal access and worship, but the reality was that Jesus was indeed the Son of God, supernaturally conceived by the Holy Spirit, and thus sinless and qualified to bear the sins of mankind. What is Christmas all about? There’s your answer.
#1 in the Faith at Christmas Series
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Donald Jacobs is an ordained minister with the spiritual gift of teaching. He is the Associate Pastor of a non-denominational church in Los Angeles, CA.