Thanks for posting.
Anybody who believes Christ on the Cross was to receive shame doesn’t understand the Gospel message.
Yet Crabtree says, 'In all likelihood, none of the people in Nazarethincluding Joseph and her own familyare yet aware that Mary is pregnant.'
I beg to differ, and very much doubt that Mary left to visit her cousin Elizabeth without Joseph first hearing from the Angel of the Lord - most likely within mere hours of Mary's own visitation.
Interesting to think what it was a like for him for years afterwards, living with boy who was not his son, but actually God incarnate, and with a woman who (though herself being perplexed, "turning things over in her heart"), lived in fidelity to the Holy Spirit, Holy and Mighty, Holy and Immortal, Who, overshadowing, espoused her.
re: “He was setting Mary up for scandal. What rational person would not justifiably conclude that a young pregnant woman who was betrothed but unmarried had been sexually unrighteous? God could have prevented that. He could have let the whole village in on the secret. He could have vindicated Mary by making it clear to everyone that He, the Creator of the universe, was responsible for her pregnancy. But He did not. He left her in a condition where shame and dishonor in the eyes of her neighbors would be the inevitable result. Why did God do that?”
I like the article very much. I really do not believe there was any way to avoid putting Mary in an awkward situation - if God’s Son was to be virgin born - if God’s Son was to be fully God, and yet fully human as well, how could this situation be avoided? It could not.
I don’t think it would be possible to avoid scandel either, even if God had revealed this to the entire village (Nazareth probably numbered less than a 1000 people - some say only around 80 people in Jesus’ time!), it was such a small number that rumors would probably still have circulated that Jesus’s birth was questionable.
Re: Probably after the birth of John, Mary, then three months pregnant, returns to her home in Nazareth where her family and Joseph, the man to whom she is betrothed, await her. In all likelihood, none of the people in Nazarethincluding Joseph and her own familyare yet aware that Mary is pregnant.
The next thing we know, Joseph and Mary are required by the census of Caesar Augustus to relocate to Bethlehem. Where this move falls in the chronology of events is not clear.
The most likely reading of the gospel accounts is that their journey to Bethlehem happens shortly after Marys return from Elizabeths home. If so, then Mary leaves Nazareth with Joseph before any of her family and neighbors know of her pregnancy. And, indeed, it may very well be that Mary and Joseph arrive in Bethlehem before Joseph knows that Mary is pregnant, four or five months before the baby Jesus will be born.”
Ok, I think the writer is mistaken in his assumption that Joseph was not aware that Mary was pregnant, or that he did not know that her pregnancy was due to a miracle from God, before they went to Bethlehem.
The implication in Matthew 1:18-24 and Luke 2 is that Joseph was fully aware of her pregnancy and the miraculous circumstances surrounding her pregnancy prior to his taking her with him to Bethlehem.
The time when Joseph became aware of her pregnancy seems to be on Marys return from visiting Elizabeth, according to Luke 2:4-5, but it could have occurred before she left for Elizabeth’s we just do not know.
We also do not know how much time passes from her return from Elizabeths home to when the decree from Augustus is made. In addition, we do not know how much time passes following Marys return before she and Joseph leave for Bethlehem, but I think it is obvious that Joseph knew about Marys condition and the circumstances of it before they leave for Bethlehem..
The angel tells Joseph that Marys story regarding her pregnancy was true and that he should not be afraid to complete their marriage plans. Matthew only says that Joseph waited until after Jesus birth to consummate their marriage this also fits in with Lukes account in chapter 2 that Joseph took his betrothed wife to Bethlehem.
None of this means that he was unaware of her pregnancy or was unaware of the miraculous circumstances of it before leaving for Bethlehem.
Also, I disagree that Mary and Joseph could have been in Bethlehem two or three months before the birth takes place. If they were living in Bethlehem that long before Jesus was born, then why didn’t they have a place to stay? That just doens’t make sense. No, the passages in Luke clearly implicate that they had newly arrived in Bethlehem, her labor begins, and they have no place to be, no room, no house, no nothing.
It also makes no sense that Joseph would bring a very pregnant Mary along with him to Bethlehem, unless he was fully aware of Mary’s condition and the possible religious/moral/social stigma retaliation that might occur if he left her in Nazareth alone. I think Joseph knew he had to bring her along, even though it would be a difficult journey for Mary physically, because leaving her behind in Nazareth could put her in a very dangerous situation.
For these reasons I think the writer is stretching the facts way too much to say that Joseph was ignorant of what was going on.
His point about Josephs courage and honor in sharing in Marys scandal are well taken and true, but, as I said, I do not believe he was unaware of what was happening prior to Bethlehem.
Just beautiful. Thank you for posting.
Is it possible to get some clarification as to what was wrong with my comment #9 on this thread? Pulling the comment may be legitimate, but unless I know what was wrong with it I am likely to make the same mistake again.
I’m so tempted to post today’s xkcd.com but I won’t.
Yes, an excellent article. It explains salvation very well.