Advent 2022 #13: Joseph V Mary or Joseph & Mary?

Luke appears to be the most feminist of the gospel writers, if the opening pages of his gospel are anything to go by, compared to the others. Interestingly, Joseph gets paid no attention by Luke, unless the detail is needed to identify Mary more so, or tell the reader where she went. Luke is totally Mary-centric.

On the contrary, Matthew is male-centric. I once read somewhere, that in ancient Israel, it was better to be a dog than a woman. I have no idea whether that’s true or not, but Matthew’s opening chapter includes Mary as little as possible. The chapter revolves around men, their offspring and Joseph.

Most people believe that Luke was not a Jew, although some argue that he was a Hellenised Jew. Matthew was Jewish.

Now, these emphases are not necessarily a good or bad thing. In fact, I think in the wonderful providence of God, we are given by multiple writers a far richer picture of the Christmas events – and the rest of Christ’s life – than we ever could have been by just one writer.

It’s a good thing. However, that was a very long preamble just to make the point that I need to jump over to Matthew, not Luke if I want to see how Mary got out of the dubious situation she was in when she presumably returned from the hill country, pregnant… wasn’t married… and hadn’t travelled there with Joseph.

Matthew Chapter 1: where Joseph’s behaviour leads me to question whether it really was better to be a dog than a woman.

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. 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.

That seems like a fair bit of decency to me. Regardless, the relationship is on the rocks because Joseph is a righteous man and won’t marry a woman who sleeps around and then says that God has made her pregnant. Still, he’s not going to make a fuss about it, but the relationship is off, he thinks. He’ll keep it quiet, but that’s that.

He’s decent, and he strikes me as the kind of guy who likes to line all his ducks up in a row when he thinks things through.

But after he had considered this, 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.”

Mary is Highly Favoured. She’s not going on hill country escapades, despite my post title two days ago. Yet, Joseph is a rational man and why would he believe Mary’s claims? They are fairly difficult to believe!

God intervenes because he’s got a rescue mission in action.

When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.

Yours in comparing the pairs,

Alison

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