Marriage and the Bible Based on the Living in Love Series by Richard L. Strauss, Biblical Studies Foundation - 1998
Circle of Trust Chapter 10: Joseph and Mary
The “Favored One” • Much is told of Mary in Luke 1:28 • Highly favored. • The Lord is with you. • Mary is mindful of her low estate and her need for salvation. • “…and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant…”Luke 1:47-48
An Unparalleled Miracle • Gabriel makes quite an announcement in Luke 1:30-33. • Although God has time and again provided miraculous conception (overcoming barreness), Mary correctly ponders the miracle of immaculate conception. • Gabriel cites Elizabeth’s pregnancy as further evidence of God’s plan.
Decision Time • Mary had the choice to embrace this announcement or attempt to rebel against God. • No brainer, you say? • Who would believe the explanation of this child? • A Roman district center is four miles away. • Joseph stands to be dishonored and devastated. • Jesus would be branded by many as illegitimate. • Mary’s typical dreams for life were just about to be shattered and reformed in an instant.
Ultimate Submission • In a brief moment, Mary provides the ultimate demonstration and example of Godly submission. • She had to evaluate what she knew of God’s character and His ability and faithfulness to work out every “problem” she could foresee. • God is ultimately asking her the bottom-line question: “Do you trust Me?”
Boldness in Faith • Understand that Mary is twice described as a meditative woman who “ponders in her heart.” • Luke 2:19, 51 • And yet, Mary swiftly, boldly, and emphatically responds to God’s commission: • “I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said.“Luke 1:38
Foundation Stones Revealed • Mary also demonstrated the core fundamental to a healthy, happy, and prosperous marriage: a willingness to trust God with whatever consequences arises from obeying Him. • Mary also demonstrates her complete willingness to submit to the leadership of the Godly man that The Lord put in her life.
Trusting Like No Other Man • We do not know if Joseph was aware of the pregnancy before Mary went to Elizabeth. • We do know that it was quite obvious when she returned. • Joseph would soon be asked to trust a woman like no man before him.
A Quiet Divorce • We do not absolutely know Joseph’s mind when he decided to quietly divorce Mary. • Matthew 1:19 • Did he find her story hard to believe, and yet loved her still? • Did he find her story believable, and yet felt inadequate himself for the task?
Angels and Dreams • We do know that Joseph considered his circumstances. (Matthew 1:20) • Interestingly, Joseph’s many encounters with angels happen in his dreams, in contrast to Mary. • Why do you suppose God chose to communicate this way with Joseph?
Handing Joseph the Controls • Note God’s commission of authority for Joseph: • Matthew 1:21 • Joseph is to give Him the name Jesus. • Throughout the rest of their story, God provides Joseph the instructions in his dreams. • Joseph obeys God, and Mary obeys Joseph.
The Circle of Trust • Mary trusted God. • Joseph trusted God. • Joseph trusted Mary. • Mary trusted Joseph.
Application • Trust leads to intimacy. Intimacy requires trust. • In what ways are we called to trust our spouses in our marital relationships? • Loved and accepted through all things. • No anger or jealousy. • Freedom to express thoughts. • Vulnerability. • Counsel and confidence.
Application • What happens when that trust is broken? • Feelings of deception. • Foolishness and humiliation. • Breakdown of the relationship. • How does one go about restoring broken trust? • God has the ability to take our willingness to trust and turn it into trustworthiness in our mate.
That Submission Thing Again • Mary had to trust that Joseph was at all times seeking God’s face in doing what was best for her. • Every documented decision Joseph made was in accordance with God’s will. • We have no right to ask our wives to submit to our arbitrary opinions. We are obligated to lead in the path of God’s choosing.
Jesus on Making Plans… • And he told them this parable: "The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. He thought to himself, 'What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.‘ "Then he said, 'This is what I'll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I'll say to myself, "You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry." ‘ "But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?‘ "This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.“ • Luke 12:16-21
Conclusion • How long would it have taken for you to respond to Gabriel? • Do you trust your spouse? • Are you worthy of your spouse’s trust? • What are you doing to build (or restore) that trust?