Letter to the editor: Joseph and Mary
There are two important biblical characters that we should not forget this season, and they are Joseph and Mary. Joseph was the husband of the Virgin Mary who gave birth to Christ (Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 1:26-38).
One thing that stands out about Joseph is how he was probably discouraged that his future bride was pregnant. In biblical times, engagement was as binding as marriage, and infidelity during betrothal made divorce obligatory (Matt.1:19). Joseph thought about divorcing her, until heaven intervened and Joseph obeyed the angel of the Lord (Matt.1:24). Scripture teaches that Joseph was a devout man (Matt.1:20) and did not leave Mary.
The Virgin Mary was an instrument of grace. God used her for redemptive purposes Matthew 1:23 “Behold the virgin shall conceive and a bear a son and they shall call his name Immanuel (which means, God with us).” The miraculous conception of Christ signified God will soon redeem His people and be among their presence.
When we look at the Gospel according to Luke Gabriel an angel of heaven is sent from God (Luke 1:26), and said to Mary “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you.” She was blessed and found favor with God (vs. 30). She was favored, indicating Mary received grace, not that she was the source of grace to others. The birth of Jesus in Luke 1:31 means Yahweh is salvation. Jesus came to fulfill God’s purposes of redemption.
The Magnificat in Luke (1:46-56) display important insights that we can learn from the Virgin Mary:
- Her praises, personal thanks and adoration to God. She magnifies the Lord (vv.46-48).
- Notice recognition of God’s attributes and how Mary celebrates them (vv.49-50).
- Mary’s proclamation for correcting injustice (vv.51-43).
- Finally, her thanks and praise for mercy shown to the nation of Israel (vv.54-56).
This season is another reminder that mankind are in need of heaven’s mercy and grace. Sinners are individuals in need of God’s compassion; because they have failed to meet God’s standard of righteousness. Human beings are spiritually crippled and morally bankrupt. Our world and culture are increasingly getting violent, hostile and displaying no respect for human beings.
The Virgin Mary is an example of servanthood. We need to surrender to God’s will in light of the world’s environment. The Gospel according to John states “but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you have life in his name” (20:31).
Have a great Merry Christmas!
George L. Arroyo