Easter - 2018

Monday, December 9, 2013

Christmas Crisis!

 God's Invitations bring Dilemmas.
Matthew 1:18, “This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph,”

Jewish marriages took place in 3 stages: The contractual stage / espousal stage / actual consummation.
 Young people had little to do w/ the process as most marriages were pre-arranged. This marriage was likely arranged. A legal contract would be signed w/ details of the dowry put in writing! [ “2 Chickens for your daughter!” ] They grew up knowing who they would marry and didn’t question it. 

After the contractual stage was the espousal stage, what we would call an engagement period, which normally lasted about a year. Now they were allowed to spend time together and start getting to know each other (told to learn to love each other! [not fall in love] Love is a choice, a decision, a commitment! [Eph. 5--God commands men to love their wives…a decision, not just a feeling] Today we make much more allowance for attraction, and none of us would want our marriage completely arranged for us as it used to be, but you have to admit we often err on the superficial side of things as a result. God does not tell us to wait until we ‘fall’ in love…rather, we are commanded to love…because we can ‘fall’ for anything!

In Matt. 1 they are in that espousal stage…they are supposed to spend lots of time together, but must keep themselves pure during this time.
So, it was important for Joseph and Mary to spend a quantity of time together, but to avoid allowing things to get out of hand.

That was the espousal stage…next was the actual marriage (huge 7 day wedding feast, w/ consummation to follow.

In Matt. 1 they are espoused, but not married…so how stunned was Joseph when he found out she was pregnant?

If Joseph said the baby was his, it would be a lie…and if he accused Mary of unfaithfulness, she would be stoned. He did not want that. What would they do?

We can read v. 18 and see that the child was conceived of the Holy Spirit…we know that, and Mary already knew that, but Joseph did not know that yet! All he could think, naturally, was that Mary had been unfaithful / immoral. It must have torn him up inside. His heart had already come to trust in her, she seemed incapable of doing such a thing, and it must have felt like his heart just fell out of his chest!

The invitation of God had put Jospeh in a great dilemma!
Great dilemmas are a large part of God's invitations...The crisis force us to TRUST!

What is the great dilemma in your life? Are you trusting God?
 You know I love ya, Don

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