Mary was given the astounding news first and reeled with shock and there was no safe place to vent it. Most young Jewish virgins hoped they would be the one chosen, but when Mary became pregnant, they probably appointed themselves as conduits of the news that Mary had committed the worst of sins: adultery . …and dear Joseph. God didn’t tell him about His Divine Plan until later. The Lord really tested this man’s faith before the Angel Gabriel came to him to reveal the truth and relieve him of his doubts and worries. How he suffered, not knowing if there was another man in her life, and yet wondering, wondering. Could it be that Mary was the chosen one of God to give birth to the Messiah? …then the pressure became so unbearable that Mary joined a caravan headed for Jerusalem, leaving Joseph to suffer alone, and travelled for four days to visit her mother’s older sister, Elizabeth. Elizabeth was married to an elderly temple priest in Jerusalem named Zechariah. This couple were well past the age of hoping to have children, but to their amazement the angel Gabriel appeared to Zechariah and told him that Elizabeth would bear a child, and that “he would be a joy and delight to them and many would rejoice because of his birth”. That child was John the Baptist, whose assignment later was to go ahead of Jesus and announce His coming.
Zechariah was struck blind by the Lord because he did not believe the promise of Gabriel that came directly from God. Aren’t you glad that God doesn’t strike us blind when we doubt Him? I read in the Book of Joshua this morning: “Joshua, stand up! What are you doing down on your face?” I know I have heard my Lord’s voice saying that to me at times during my lapses of faith, but so far He hasn’t struck me physically blind! Amazing Grace!When Mary arrived at Elizabeth’s home the baby in her womb leaped and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. …and she knew then that Mary carried the Messiah. Mary sang her beautiful song as given us in Luke 1.
Back to Joseph, the humble carpenter. Mary visited Elizabeth for three months while Joseph was stuck in Nazareth with the gossipers. He probably kept building feverishly, trying to finish their home, which actually they would not be privileged to live in until after Jesus was born in a manger in Bethlehem and they were forced to flee to Egypt from Herod who was bent on killing the Baby Jesus.
Here’s a little bit of information that you have probably known all along: A local pharmacist from Cairo and I engaged in a conversation a few years ago. I asked him where he was from, and he volunteered that he was a member of a Christian sect in Cairo. I asked him how that could be and rather condescendingly, he said, “Don’t you remember that Joseph, Mary and Jesus lived for a time in Egypt before returning home after Herod died?” …and finally I tied some dangling threads of biblical history together. When Ted and I were In Egypt many years ago, we searched in vain for believers, but we obviously did not know where to look.
I so look forward to meeting Joseph. Who are you looking forward to meeting? The more I read scripture, the longer becomes my list.
My mother and my grandmother before her suffered strokes toward the end of their lives because neither could let go of their loads, even when it was possible. If I use my head like I am supposed to maybe I can outfox the strokes that beset them.
…and now the question: What are you learning about your human limitations and can you live peacefully with those discoveries?
Hymn of the Week: “Jesus I Come”
Out of my bondage, sorrow and night, Jesus I come, Jesus I come;
Into Thy freedom, gladness and light, Jesus I come to Thee;
Out of my sickness into Thy Health, Out of my want and into Thy wealth;
Out of the sin and into Thyself, Jesus I come to Thee.