December 9, 2014 | Posted in: Devotional
When Jesus’ mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly…
At the time of Jesus a betrothal was almost as binding as marriage itself. To break a betrothal in effect required a divorce.
So the engaged couple (but as good as married) find themselves pregnant. The problem with being pregnant and especially in a small rural village, is that eventually EVERYBODY knows about it. And then the finger pointing begins.
In our world now this kind of news only makes ripples, but at the time of the New Testament a pregnancy out of wedlock would have been cataclysmic. The finger would have been pointed… Joseph can legitimately throw his hands up and say… ‘Er not me guv!’ For Mary, the outcome could have been terminal. The law stipulated she should be put to death by stoning ().
And yet in the middle of this discovery of Mary’s news, we read that Joseph was ‘unwilling to put her to shame’.
And so as the Saviour and mediator of the Grace Covenant grows in her womb… His divine grace already starts flowing into the lives of those he will one day die for. Even before Joseph is re-assured by an angelic visitation, a revelation of grace seeps into the situation… the act of exposing sin and projecting shame has no place in the life of a ‘just’ man of God.
NO ROOM for shame!
That is one of the great forgotten truths of the advent story…
The apostle John tells us that…
...the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth… For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ ().
We can be Thankful In Advent because when Jesus was revealed FULL of Grace and Truth, He so filled the life of faith He left no place for shame to dwell… and that includes your and my very worst days!
There is now no room for shame. Let it be so!
18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. (ESV)
20 But if the thing is true, that evidence of virginity was not found in the young woman, 21 then they shall bring out the young woman to the door of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her to death with stones, because she has done an outrageous thing in Israel by whoring in her father’s house. So you shall purge the evil from your midst.
22 “If a man is found lying with the wife of another man, both of them shall die, the man who lay with the woman, and the woman. So you shall purge the evil from Israel. (ESV)
14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) 16 And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. (ESV)