This Weekly Devotional connects to the current Adult Sunday School series. Although it is related to the Sunday School curriculum, it is also designed to be meaningful to everyone.
Whose Child Is This?
December 1, 2022
Matthew 1:18-19 NIV 18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about]: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit.19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
Joseph faced a devastating dilemma. They were engaged but not yet married. He probably felt utterly betrayed and humiliated. He could do what was customary in such circumstances and call off the marriage. He would have to go to the priest or the public square and declare what was happening and why he was breaking off the engagement. To do this publicly would be to call Mary out as an adulteress. She would be publicly scorned and humiliated. The law of Moses called for stoning but this was seldom used under Rome’s rule. Mary would carry a reputation with her from then on. Her family would have faced disgrace.
But that was not what Joseph wanted. He decided to divorce her quietly. This likely meant he would say he had changed his mind. He, not Mary, would be seen as the dishonorable one. He would take all the blame and accept all the shame and stigma.
At that point he hadn’t had the dream of when the messenger of the Lord appeared to him. He still showed compassion for Mary. He showed mercy and grace.
What a role model God chose to be Jesus father. How many of us, in situations where we feel we have been wronged or humiliated over issues much less devastating than Joseph’s, feel we have to strike back, get even, or make the bad person hurt? What should our Christian attitude be?
Who do you know? Do you have a situation in your life? Where do you need to answer God’s call to offer mercy and grace to others?
Prayer: Loving God, we thank you for your grace and mercy. We thank you for freeing us from the burden of sin. We know that you call us to forgive those who hurt us. We pray that you give us strength and courage to offer grace and mercy to others and follow Joseph’s example. AMEN