Pt. 18 – The Christmas Story (God is Faithful to Keep His Promises)

God is Faithful to Keep His Promises

The theme of God keeping His promises is interwoven throughout the entire Christmas Story.

The Lord was faithful to His words to Mary, Joseph, Zacharias, Elisabeth, the shepherds, Simeon and Anna. God did for them exactly what He had said He would do.

There are 332 Messianic promises and implications in the Old Testament regarding Christ’s first coming. God fulfilled every single Messianic prophecy when Jesus came to earth—from His conception up until His resurrection and ascension into heaven.

For a complete list of every Messianic prophecy regarding Jesus’ first coming, I would highly recommend a book entitled Lamb of God: Yesterday, Today and Forever (Clarion Call Marketing, 2004) by Benny Hinn. Please go to his website at http://www.bennyhinn.org/ or http://www.amazon.com .

If God has spoken prophetic promises to you, or that of a loved one, just know that He will be faithful to fulfill those words in His due timing.

Numbers 23:19 (NIV) declares, “God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should change His mind. Does He speak and then not act? Does He promise and not fulfill?”

God has promised us many things in His Word. Also, many of us have received prophetic promises that were spoken over us. We want to receive our promise or healing. We know that God is able to do it, but for some reason or another, many are not completely ready to receive their promise or healing at this moment. We have to get to the place where we not only know that God is able to do it, but that He will do it.

In John 5:5-9, Jesus came by the pool of Bethesda and found a lame man who had suffered with an infirmity for 38 years. Jesus said to him, “Do you want to be made whole?”

Rather than the man instantly saying “yes”, he gave Jesus the reasons why he hadn’t been healed in the past. Plus, the man was stuck in the mode of blaming others for his condition. When the man decided to take responsibility for his own life and stop blaming others and making excuses, then he was able to receive his healing.

If prophetic words were spoken over you and it bore witness with your spirit and is in agreement with the Bible, then trust God to perform His Word.

May we prepare our hearts to receive all that God has for us. May we make whatever changes God tells us to make, so that we are ready to receive.

It is time to cross over into our promised land and receive what we have been believing God for. May we not let fear, doubt and other issues get in the way of receiving our promise.

Romans 4:17 says that God calls those things that are not as though they already were. That is what we need to do … begin calling those things in our lives that are non-existent as though they already were in existence. Then we will begin to see those things come into manifestation.

God wants to do something in our life that’s bigger than us. He wants us to believe for the impossible. He’s able to do miracles, even creative miracles.

Jeremiah 32:27 (KJV) says, “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh: is there anything too hard for Me?” In verse 17 Jeremiah declares, “Ah Lord God! Behold, Thou hast made the heaven and the earth by Thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for Thee.”

When Zerubbabel (mentioned in Haggai and Ezra) had faced opposition to restoring the temple in Jerusalem and work had been suspended for several years, the situation looked bleak. However, God spoke through the prophet saying, “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts. Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a [level] plain” (Zechariah 4:6-7).

We can personalize this for our own lives. Replace the name Zerubbabel with your name or that of a loved one. Declare aloud, “The Word of the Lord comes to __________ saying, It’s not by your might, nor by your power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord of hosts. Who art thou, O great mountain? Before __________ thou shalt become a leveled plain.”

Matthew 21:21 says that if we speak to our mountain and tell it to move out of our way, and do not doubt in our hearts, that it would obey us. What is the mountain (the obstacle or problem) in your life that stands in your way and tries to intimidate or taunt you? You have to speak to it, telling it to get out of your way.

Luke 3:5 speaks of Jesus, saying that He would cause every valley to be filled and exalted, every mountain to be made low, every crooked path to be made straight, and every rough way to be made smooth.

God wants us to keep our focus on Him, and see Him as powerful and mighty and awesome. Who else is like unto Him? Who else can do what only He can do? There is none like Him!

Hebrews 11:11 says that Sarah received the promise (giving birth to Isaac) because she considered Him faithful who had promised. Like Sarah, we need to believe that God is faithful to fulfill everything He said He would do even before we see it happen.

Mary said to Gabriel, “Be it unto me according to thy word”, and then she conceived. May we have the heart of Mary and say to the Lord when He speaks something to us, “Be it unto me according to Thy word.”

This is a season of leaving the wilderness and crossing over into our promised land. There are giants there—new challenges and new devils to contend with, but God will conquer every giant. Although the old can be miserable, it’s familiar. The new seems scary because it’s a place of the unknown.

God has a “promised land” for each of our lives (a place of blessings, joy, abundance and fulfilled dreams). The Lord will lead us there if we take His hand, and be willing to leave the past behind.

Pt. 17 – The Christmas Story (Mary Treasured These Things)

Mary Treasured These Things

Three times in the Christmas Story it is mentioned that Mary pondered and treasured these things in her heart.

The first time was when the shepherds came and told her everything the angels had said to them concerning her son.

The second time was when Simeon prophesied over her son at the Temple.

The third time was when Jesus was twelve years old and had been missing for three days.

Yearly, the whole family, including extended family, went up to the Temple in Jerusalem to observe a feast. After departing Jerusalem to head back home, they discovered He was missing (Luke 2:42-52). Many relatives were traveling in a caravan, and one thought He was with the other and vice versa.

They came back to Jerusalem and searched for Him. Mary and Joseph found Him at the Temple sitting with the teachers. When His parents expressed how distraught they were in searching for Him, Jesus said, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” (Luke 2:49 NKJV)

Mary has been honored for centuries for being chosen to give birth to the long-awaited Messiah and to be the mother of the Great I AM.

The prophecy spoken by Simeon at the temple about a sword piercing her soul came true when she witnessed her son being beaten, scourged with 39 stripes, a crown of thorns being placed upon his head, Jesus carrying the heavy cross to Calvary and collapsing under the weight of the heavy load, being crucified, being spit on and ridiculed, being stripped naked on a cross and finally dying.

Her sorrow was turned to joy when she saw Him alive again after His resurrection. Then she felt grief and loss again when 40 days following His resurrection He ascended into Heaven. It would be years before they would be reunited in Heaven.

Mary was among the 120 people waiting in the Upper Room for ten days following Jesus’ ascension. He told them to wait until they were endued with Power from on High (Luke 24:49). When the Day of Pentecost was fully come, the Holy Spirit was poured out. They spoke in languages they had never learned before. The early church was birthed (Acts 2).

The sword also pierced Mary’s soul as it related to the family situation. Jesus’ family was not believers prior to the resurrection. Therefore, the family was divided and Mary was caught in the middle.

While Jesus was still hanging on the Cross, He entrusted the care of His mother over to John the Beloved disciple (His cousin). John was the brother of James and son of Zebedee. Jesus said, “Mother, behold thy son … John, behold thy mother” (John 19:26-27). From that day forward, Mary lived in John’s home for the rest of her life.

Normally, the custom was that one of her other sons would take care of his mother for the rest of her life. However, Jesus chose John. He knew that His mother would be the best cared for by John.

It is recorded that Jesus had four brothers: James, Joseph, Simon and Judas. He also had sisters, although their names, and how many sisters, are not mentioned (Matthew 13:55-56).

At the time of Jesus’ death, his siblings were not believers yet. However, they eventually became believers and even leaders in the early church. The most well-known of Jesus’ brothers is James, who was a leader in the Jerusalem church, who wrote the Epistle of James.

Jesus, who foreknew the future, knew that His brothers would become martyrs for the Gospel’s sake. John was the only one who was not martyred and lived to be a ripe old age (around 97).

It is believed that Mary died in Ephesus where she and John were living.

Mary was a woman of courage, grace and strength. She endured many years of scandal and people whispering and gossiping about her and Joseph.

Those around them believed that she and Joseph had conceived a child out of wedlock. That is what it appeared to be. Joseph married her sooner than they originally planned, and when doing the math, it was obvious that Mary gave birth to Jesus less than nine months after she and Joseph were married.

Only a few in Nazareth believed that Jesus was the Messiah. To most people in Nazareth, He was just the son of a carpenter.

To be a vessel used by the Lord, like Mary, you may have to drink a bitter cup. There may be reproach and suffering that you have to go through in order to carry Jesus to the world. You may have to put your life on the line for the Gospel’s sake. However, a blessing and reward will be yours for an eternity.

Pt. 16 – The Christmas Story (A Voice Was Heard in Ramah)

A Voice Was Heard in Ramah

King Herod, when he realized that the wise men had outwitted him and were not returning, was exceedingly angry.

He sent soldiers to Bethlehem, and all its surrounding districts, to slaughter all the male children two years old and younger, for the wise men had told him that the star first appeared two years before.

This brutal massacre fulfilled the words of the prophet Jeremiah, who said: “A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping; Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted because they are no more” (Jeremiah 31:15).

Rachel is used figuratively to represent the city of Bethlehem. She was the mother of Joseph and Benjamin, the wife of Jacob, who was buried near Bethlehem. Ramah was a small farming community about 10 miles away from Bethlehem.

After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Arise, take the young child and His mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the young Child’s life are dead” (Matthew 2:20). So he arose and took the young child and Mary to the land of Israel.

However, when he heard that Archelaus, the son of Herod, was now reigning over Judea, he was afraid to go there. Being warned by God in a dream, he took Mary and the young child to the region of Galilee and dwelt in the town of Nazareth. This is where Jesus grew up, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets: “He shall be called a Nazarene” (Matthew 2:23).

The Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon Him (Luke 2:40).

Pt. 15 – The Christmas Story (Wise Men From the East)

Wise Men From the East

When Jesus was born, there were wise men (also called magi or astrologers) in the East who saw His star and they journeyed to Jerusalem to find the One who was born King of the Jews so they could worship Him (Matthew 2:1-2).

The wise men inquired of the leaders in Jerusalem as to where the newborn King of the Jews was located. When King Herod heard about this, he was troubled, as was also all Jerusalem (Matthew 2:3). Herod was the king of the Jews and felt threatened by the idea of someone else being born to replace him as king of the Jews.

Herod gathered the chief priests and the scribes (religious lawyers) together, inquiring where the Messiah was to be born (Matthew 2:4-6). So they said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet ‘But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting’” (Micah 5:2 NKJV).

Herod secretly summoned the wise men to his palace to question them, to determine when the star first appeared (Matthew 2:7-8). Then Herod sent the wise men to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search diligently for the young child, and when you have found him, bring word back to me—that I may come and worship Him also.”

In his evil heart, Herod had no plans of worshipping the Christ Child, but of murdering Him.

The wise men departed from King Herod’s presence, and the star that they had seen in the East went before them leading them to the place where Jesus and His parents resided. The star stood over a house where the young child was (Matthew 2:9-10). When the wise men saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy!

From the time that the wise men first saw the star, they didn’t arrive in Bethlehem until two years later. By the time they left for their journey and traveled hundreds of miles to Jerusalem and were detained there, when they finally arrived in Bethlehem, Jesus was around two years old. Joseph, Mary and the toddler Jesus were living in a house and remained in Bethlehem until Jesus was about two years old.

Although the wise men are depicted today as being three in number because they presented Jesus with three gifts, it was probably a whole caravan of magi that came. In those days travelers journeyed in caravans for safety purposes, as there were robbers along the side of the roads.

When the wise men came into the house, they saw the young child with Mary His mother. The wise men fell down and worshipped Jesus. They had brought costly gifts for Him that are suited for a king. When they had opened their treasures, they presented Him with gold, frankincense, and myrrh (Matthew 2:11).

Gold symbolizes Divinity and Eternity. The gold is representative of the fact that Jesus is God, who was in Heaven with His Father and sent to earth to take on human flesh to ransom mankind. Gold also represents the wealth of a King.

Frankincense is a sweet perfume, symbolizing the sweet fragrance of Christ (2 Corinthians 2:14-15). Song of Solomon 1:3-4 (NIV) says, “How pleasing is the fragrance of Your perfume; Your Name is like perfume poured out … let the King bring me into His chambers.” Frankincense speaks of Jesus being our bridegroom and king. Frankincense also speaks of worship and prayers that are offered up to God ascending to the Throne as a sweet-smelling aroma that is accepted by the Father. Frankincense symbolizes the Shekinah Glory of God.

Myrrh is a sweet smelling, but bitter resin, used for cleansing and burial of the dead. Myrrh symbolizes Christ’s sufferings and His death on the Cross. Myrrh also represents the sufferings we go through, and dying to the fleshly nature (Galations 2:20, 5:16-25).

The wise men were divinely warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod. So they departed for their own country another way.

When the wise men had departed, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream saying, “Arise, take the young child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young child to destroy Him” (Matthew 2:13 NKJV).

When Joseph arose, he took the young child and Mary by night and departed for Egypt. They remained in Egypt until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying “Out of Egypt I called My Son” (Hosea 11:1).

Pt. 14 – The Christmas Story (Jesus Dedicated at the Temple)

Jesus Dedicated at the Temple

When the baby Jesus was eight days old, He was circumcised (Luke 2:21). At the circumcision ceremony, Mary and Joseph named Him JESUS, the name given by the angel Gabriel when he appeared to Mary in person and later on appeared to Joseph in a dream.

The Greek name translated into English as Jesus, is the name Iesous (pronounced ee-ay-sooce, Strong’s New Testament #2424). It is of Hebrew origin (Strong’s Old Testament #3091) from the name Yehowshua, or Joshua, meaning “Jehovah is Salvation”.

When the days of Mary’s post-birth purification had been completed, according to the law of Moses, Joseph and Mary brought Jesus to the Temple in Jerusalem to be dedicated to the Lord (Luke 2:22-24).

In the Barnes’ Notes Bible Encyclopedia, it states that among the Hebrews, a mother was required to remain at home for about forty days following the birth of a male child and about eighty days after the birth of a female child. During that time she was reckoned as impure, and was not permitted to go to the Temple or to engage in religious services with the congregation (Leviticus 12:3-5).

A sacrifice was required when dedicating the firstborn son at the Temple. Mary and Joseph brought a sacrifice to be offered. As it is written in the law of the Lord (Exodus 13:2), every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord. And in keeping with the law of the Lord, a sacrifice must be offered of a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.

At the temple, there was an elderly man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon (Luke 2:25-40). This man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel (a name for the Messiah), and the Holy Spirit was upon him.

It had been revealed to him by the Holy Ghost that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ (the Messiah). So he came by the Spirit—he was led by the Lord to come—into the temple that exact particular day that Mary and Joseph were there with baby Jesus. When the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, Simeon took Jesus up in his arms and blessed God and began to prophesy over Him saying:

“Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, according to Your Word. For my eyes have seen Your salvation which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, a light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel” (Luke 2:29-32 NKJV).

Joseph and Mary marveled at those things which were spoken of Him (Jesus). Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, the mother of Jesus: “Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed” (Luke 2:34-35 NKJV).

Now there was a prophetess named Anna, who was the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher (Luke 2:36-38). She was 84 years old. When she was young, she was married to her husband for seven years and became widowed. She never did remarry but remained single the rest of her life. She remained at the Temple for all those years, serving God with fastings and prayers night and day.

When she saw the baby Jesus, at that very moment she came up and began to give thanks to God, and continued to speak of the newborn Messiah to those who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem and all of Israel.

Pt. 13 – The Christmas Story (Angels Appear to the Shepherds)

Angels Appear to the Shepherds

Mary had given birth to her firstborn son, Jesus, and used a manger as a crib to lay Him in.

Meanwhile, in the same country there were shepherds out in the fields keeping watch over their flocks by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone brightly all around them, and they were greatly afraid (Luke 2:8-9).

Then the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign to you; ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger” (Luke 2:10-12 KJV).

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude (a countless number) of the heavenly hosts (angels) praising God and saying:

“Glory to God in the Highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” (Luke 2:14 KJV)

So it was, when the angelic hosts had gone away from the shepherds into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us!” (Luke 2:15 KJV)

Church history records that when the mass angelic choir appeared to the shepherds in the fields at night, the whole sky lit up like the noonday sun and the singing was heard for miles away by the villagers. That must have been awesome to experience.

All the angels worshiped Jesus at His birth.  Hebrews 1:6 (NKJV) says, “But when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says: ‘Let all the angels of God worship Him’.”

In the same way in which the angels appeared in the sky to herald the first coming of the Messiah (with loud singing, shouting and praising God), that when Jesus appears in the clouds to catch His Bride away (some call it the rapture, some refer to it as being translated to heaven, while others call it the catching away of the saints), that He will be heralded by the angels and saints.

Gabriel will sound the alarm by blowing a shofar. Then millions of angels will begin blowing trumpets (and I’m sure other musical instruments as well), and the angels and saints will begin rejoicing and praising God as they meet the Lord in the air.

I personally believe that the rapture will not be silent as movies portray—where people suddenly disappear—but the whole world will hear the trumpets blowing, the singing and victorious shouting. Those who are left behind will visibly see the saints who are ready for the rapture, begin to ascend straight up into the air like a rocket into the clouds, in the same manner that Jesus ascended into heaven.

Matthew 24:30-31 (NIV) says, “At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather His elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.”

The Son of Man is a name that refers to Jesus.

The four winds are in reference to the four corners of the earth (North, South, East and West). This means that the rapture will be a worldwide event where His elect are caught up to heaven from every part of the world all at the same moment.

In regards to Jesus’ second return—which is a separate event from the rapture—when He comes riding triumphantly on a white horse and touches the Mount of Olives, many Bible theologians believe that the second return will probably take place during the month of Tishri (the seventh month of the Hebrew year during September/October).

During this time of the year is the Feast of Trumpets, followed by the Day of Atonement, and then followed by the Feast of Tabernacles (Jesus tabernacling with us or making His home with us).

The Feast of Tabernacles is also known as the Feast of the ingathering of the harvest. This harvest is not about harvesting crops, but a figurative harvest—a worldwide harvest of souls.

It is important to be ready for Christ’s return. No man knows the day or the hour that Jesus will return—not even the angels, nor the Son of Man (Jesus). Only the Father knows (Mark 13:32).

In the parable of the ten virgins (Matthew 25:1-13), five were wise and five were foolish. The wise virgins were prepared when the bridegroom arrived and were ready to enter into the Marriage Supper. They had oil for their lamps.

The five foolish virgins ran out of oil, and while they went to go purchase some more, the Bridegroom came and they were not ready and prepared. They were not able to go in to the Marriage Supper because the door had been shut. Although they knocked, the door was not opened.

Could this parable possibly be saying that when the rapture takes place, that only one group of the Body of Christ will be ready to ascend to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb?

Jesus spoke to Kat Kerr that right now, 80% of Christians would not be ready for the rapture because they are living carnal lives.

It is not enough to just have said an initial prayer of salvation and been water baptized. God is looking for good fruit (the fruit of the Spirit mentioned in Galations 5:22-23 and John 15) in our lives. He is looking for holiness and walking in the fear of the Lord. We cannot have one foot in the world and another in Christ. He is looking for those who seek to have a close relationship with Him and who love Him.

It is possible to be in the church and even be involved in ministry, and not even be saved. To be saved means that you are a new creature in Christ Jesus—the old is gone and the new has come. To be saved means that you are walking according to God’s Word, not according to the ways of this world. It means a transformation of the heart, with corresponding actions following.

We do not know the exact date that Christ will return. We just know the season. It is important to be ready at all times—not only should the rapture occur in our lifetime, but also because we do not know with positive certainty when we will take our last breath. It’s important to be right with God and to have a clean heart, and a conscience that is free from guile and has been purified by the Blood of the Lamb.

If you need to get right with God, just call out to Him. Confess your sins, and He will be faithful and just to forgive you of all of your sins (1 John 1:9). Ask Him to cleanse your heart and conscience with the Blood of Christ. Invite the Holy Spirit to come and fill you to overflowing and to transform you into Christ’s image. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh.

The Word says to not be deceived, God is not mocked (Galations 6:7). Whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap. He who sows to the carnal nature (fruits of darkness such as hate, jealousy, envy, strife, malice, unkindness, injustice, fraud, selfishness, immorality, corruption) shall reap what they sowed. He who sows to the Spirit (love, joy, peace, goodness, kindness, patience, self-control, faith, gentleness, truth, honesty, integrity, the Golden Rule, fairness, just weights and balances, righteousness) he will reap what he has sowed.

Ask the Lord to bring you into a closer relationship with Him, and that you want to know Him. To know Him is to love Him more and more as the years go by.

In Luke 2:15-20, the shepherds came with haste and found Mary and Joseph in the stable or cave, and the baby lying in a manger.

Now when they had seen the babe, they spread the word concerning what had been told to them concerning this child. All those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. Mary treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.

Notice that God sovereignly chose to have the hosts of angels appear to shepherds to announce the birth of Christ. Then the shepherds in turn, told everyone about the good news.

Taking care of sheep was considered to be a lowly job, and shepherds did not have much of a voice in society. They were considered to be less important and of low-ranking status. Yet they were given the honor of seeing and hearing the angels herald the birth of Christ and the honor of announcing to the whole community the birth of the Son of God.

God could have sent His angels to announce the birth of Christ to the elite. The world we live in equates socio-economic status with importance and degree of favor shown. The prominent and wealthy have the most voice in society. This is all based in pride, and God abhors pride.

The Lord is a God of equality. He views everyone with equal importance and value. He shows favor to whomever He chooses. He enjoys raising the needy out of the ash heap and empowering them to prosper. The Lord will often take people who had major setbacks and disadvantages, and raise them up to become very successful. God often chooses those who others think are the least qualified and uses them mightily.

God looks for those who are available to Him—regardless of status or education—and who say “yes” to God.

Pt. 11 – The Christmas Story (Mary’s Dilemma)

Mary’s Dilemma

The time came when Mary had to tell her fiancé Joseph that she was with child. She tried to explain to him how the conception occurred: The archangel Gabriel appeared to her in person, he announced that she was chosen to be the mother of the Messiah, the Holy Spirit overshadowed her and she conceived, and the child she is carrying in her womb is the Son of God.

Of course, how could Joseph believe such a preposterous story? It sounded ludicrous. How could a mature, logical and sensible man like himself buy such a story? After all, every young woman dreamed of being chosen to give birth to the Messiah.

Just imagine all of the tumultuous emotions that Joseph was feeling. He was betrothed to Mary and in love with her. He had dreams and plans of spending his entire life with her, but now his dreams of the two of them having a future together was dashed on the ground into a thousand pieces. He must have felt betrayal, anger, confusion, hurt, rejection, deep pain, disappointment and grief. He felt jilted. He had been cheated on, or so he thought. He was brokenhearted.

He must have felt rage in his heart, wondering which man it was that took advantage of Mary who was a young teenager, using her for his own selfish desires. If he found out who the man was, he was probably ready to kill him.

Song of Solomon 8:6 (NKJV) says, “Love is as strong as death; jealousy as cruel as the grave.” Proverbs 6:32-35 (TLB) states: “But the man who commits adultery is an utter fool, for he destroys his own soul. Wounds and constant disgrace are his lot, for the woman’s husband will be furious in his jealousy, and he will have no mercy on you in his day of vengeance. You won’t be able to buy him off no matter what you offer.”

In that culture, the betrothal period was just as legally binding as the marriage itself, and it appeared that Mary had committed adultery.

Joseph could not believe such a bizarre story of how Mary supposedly conceived. He had the legal right to have her stoned to death in the town square before the religious leaders and the people. However, he was a just and righteous man, and he was in love with Mary. Although Joseph was hurting, he did not want to expose Mary’s shame or see her go through public humiliation and a brutal execution. So he had it in his mind to divorce her quietly (Matthew 1:18-25).

While Joseph thought on these matters, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:20-21 NIV).

The Lord defended Mary’s purity.

All of this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 7:14 NKJV): “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel” (which translated means God with us).

Joseph awoke from his sleep and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him. He took Mary as his wife, but had no intimate relations with her until she had given birth to her firstborn son (Matthew 1:24-25). Mary was not a virgin her entire lifetime.

After Jesus was born, Joseph and Mary had children together, for the Bible records that Jesus had younger brothers and sisters (Mark 6:3). Jesus was the eldest child because it was He who determined who was going to take care of His widowed mother Mary after He ascended to Heaven. He chose John the Apostle (His cousin), rather than one of His siblings, to take care of Mary for the rest of her life (John 19:26-27).

The Lord was faithful to fulfill what He said to Mary. Just as God promised, spoken through Gabriel, she was overshadowed with the Holy Spirit and conceived a son—being a virgin. For with God all things are possible (Luke 18:27).

Joseph is depicted as a man of honor and excellent character, a man who obeyed the voice of the Lord. What a great man that God chose to be Mary’s husband and Jesus’ adoptive father!