Sunday, December 25, 2016

The Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 1

The thing I've always found most notable about this First Chapter of Matthew is the part where Joseph finds out that his promised wife Mary is already with child.

We're not told how he finds out. But we're told he was a just man and that he didn't want to subject Mary to any ugliness. So he decided to release her quietly.

Jesus talked more than once about not judging people in the gospels. He instructed us to leave judgement to God, who knows all sides of everything, and who as Creator of Everything is more than capable of handling all situations. Right here near the very beginning of the gospels is where that lesson starts.

Joseph refused to judge. He didn't allow his ego to feel bruised into some twisted sense of honor. Nor did he take a "holier than thou" stance. I'm sure he assumed there was another man involved. So he prepared to let Mary go quietly, probably into the arms of this other man.

And then, when the angel told him that Mary was pregnant by the Holy Spirit, he didn't hesitate to take her as his wife. Again, he didn't let his ego get in the way. He didn't care if anyone who knew them did the math and realized that Jesus was conceived before their wedding. There were probably a few people who looked down on them, thinking they were sinners instead of being part of a miracle.

This is why Jesus said not to judge. We simply don't know the whole facts of every story. And we have no idea what plans God may have.

Think how differently this story might have turned out if Joseph's ego or inflated sense of justice caused him to publicly accuse Mary. She might very well have been stoned. And Jesus might never have been born.

But God chose Joseph. A just man. A man who refused to judge. To raise His Son and be a role model to Him, of what a good man is.

A Blessed and Merry Christmas to Everyone!

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