By Kenny Bruce
Pastor Emeritus, Leawood East Baptist Church, Memphis
Focal Passage: Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:18-25
I. JOSEPH’S DILEMMA (vv. 18-19) Joseph was betrothed to Mary. A betrothal was more binding than our modern engagement. A contract was sealed by a payment made by the groom or his family to the bride’s father. The amount ordinarily would cover wedding expenses in case the groom divorced her.
The couple were considered legally married even though the marriage ceremony did not occur until as much as a year later. Mary was impregnated by the Holy Spirit. The obvious conclusion was that she had experienced relations with another man. Joseph was most certainly shocked by this development.
He had every right to shame Mary by divorcing her publicly, or even to have her stoned to death (Deuteronmy 22:23-24). However, out of consideration for her, he resolved to put her away secretly by divorce. [Read more…]