“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly.” (Matthew 1:18-19)

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 Wow. There’s a whole lot of history and happenings summed up in those two sentences!

Mary knew the child she had conceived was the miraculous work of the Holy Spirit. She knew she was pregnant and a virgin at the same time—but Joseph obviously didn’t.

Of course, we have the benefit of knowing the historical record of how things would turn out. But Joseph? And even Mary? Not so much!

Imagine visiting with Joseph and learning his thoughts and experiences from the time he learned of Mary’s pregnancy to the night Christ was born.

Personally, I would love to run an entire list of questions past the man!

I believe God is pleased when we mull over Scripture to the point where we wonder what the people we’re reading about thought and experienced. It often humbles us and puts our difficulties into better perspective. When we do consider what “may have been”, however, we must commit to keeping those things separate from His Word and not build theologies around them.

With these things in mind, I invite you to join me in an imaginary interview with Joseph, the man betrothed to Mary who was “found to be pregnant”…

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Joseph, we’re over 2,000 years beyond the timeframe when you were looking forward to your upcoming marriage to Mary, and we live in an entirely different culture. What was it like?

As was customary, Mary and I were chosen for each other by our parents when I was a young man and shortly after she was born. Our families were committed to raising us to live honorably and faithfully to God and others. Yet from her earliest childhood, Mary was special. She was quick to right a wrong, had a sweet and forgiving spirit, and was very capable and responsible. That was the expectation upon all of us, of course, yet Mary’s love for Jehovah was vibrant and she was a joy to everyone. I felt most fortunate to have her as my culturally betrothed and soon to be wife.

It sounds as though everything was going according to plan. You and Mary were promised to each other and you were no doubt working hard, preparing for the wedding and a home for your bride.

Yes, a carpenter was a common laborer and I did not have much to offer. Mary didn’t mind, however; she was delighted at the prospect of our future together. Her father told me Mary believed I was the best man a woman could possibly have for a husband.

The holy Scriptures record that an angel appeared to Mary, announcing she had been chosen by God to be the mother of the promised Messiah. She was wondering how He would accomplish this, as she was a virgin. By now you know the angel told her about her relative Elizabeth becoming pregnant in her old age and that Mary left home to stay with her and Zacharias for about three months (Luke 1:3-56). Did it seem out of character for her to suddenly leave like she did?

When Mary sent word she was going to visit her relative, it was without explanation. And, yes, it was completely out of character for Mary. She was not an impulsive person, but a steady, clear thinker who carefully processed everything. I was very surprised as to her leaving. Her own family was also, even though they gave her permission and provided safe escort for her. My understanding is that Mary was sweetly adamant—she had to go. Her parents felt it must be important, as Mary was not prone to make requests of anyone. It was all so odd, but everybody trusted Mary.

When and how did you find out Mary was with child?  Scripture is silent as to this.

I’m not exactly sure when it was that I knew. After her return, Mary’s family began looking at me furtively and avoiding me. Her parents could be heard arguing under the cover of darkness. There were no messages from Mary. I did happen to run into her when she was returning from the well one day. We looked at each other in shared surprise before she gazed full upon me and stated, “Jehovah is good, Joseph.” She turned and left, the same Mary but also very different. Then her father came to see me the next day. He brokenly told me Mary was with child.

And you had no word from God. How you must have suffered! From a human standpoint, I’m sorry for what you went through. But as a reader of the Scriptures who knew what had happened and what would happen, it was … well, glorious!

Yes, I was devastated. Mary’s reputation in Nazareth was ruined. Her mother wore mourning clothes. The family was ostracized. I was sneered at. There was talk in the temple about having Mary stoned to death. It was horrible. And I sent messages to Mary which were never returned; perhaps she never was given them.

We read you were a just man and sought to put Mary away privately.

Yes, it was hard to imagine Mary had sinned in such a way. I was physically sick. People were telling me she should be put to death and that I had every right to cast the first stone at her. I prayed for Jehovah to help me find a way to quietly annul the engagement without causing Mary further disgrace; I began planning how to provide for her safety away from Nazareth.

Ahhh, but then came the vision!

All praise to God. Yes! An angel of the Lord appeared to me in a dream, calling me by name: “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. She will call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”

Can you imagine that? God read my heart; He knew my anxious thoughts. He revealed to me the long awaited Messiah was nestled in the womb, right in Nazareth! And that my betrothed, Mary, was the virgin to whom He would be born!

Joseph, I have so many more questions! You surely had multiple thoughts after waking. Share another, if you would?

I will say this to you and those reading within your culture. Many of us Jews made the error of thinking God would cause a virgin to become pregnant from her husband on her wedding night in order to bring us the Promised One. We did not believe His Word that a virgin woman would give birth to the Messiah!

Believe what God has recorded. It is trustworthy; every word, every phrase.

 And Mary spoke truthfully: Jehovah is good!

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Thank you for joining us on this first portion of our Imaginary Interview with Mary’s Joseph. As you can see, there are benefits to slowing down in our reading of Scripture and thinking about what was going on and even perhaps what may have happened. One thing we do know: our imaginations can never keep up with God and His unstoppable sovereignty and interactions with humanity. And today, please be encouraged to know that while Mary and Joseph were in a truly unimaginable “faith walk” with God, you were in the Father’s mind and heart:

For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.

(John 3:16)

June

June

People Lover. Author. Blogger. Speaker. Forgiven Much & Wild About God. Learn about June's latest book on her website.

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