December 08, 2005

Did Really Joseph 'Shrink Back'?

Mosaic Church is offering a blog now, to go along with their Podcast --- pretty cool. I appreciate that they are offering a blog and allowing people to discuss the messages.

The latest message was taught by Eric Bryant, and here are my comments (instead of posting a really long comment on their blog) on it. The sermon revolved around Joseph’s reaction to Mary becoming pregnant in Matthew Chapter 1.

I enjoyed your message, you made a lot of good points, and sadly I see myself doing the kind of things you mentioned at times. One thing bothered me however, and that’s how you understand Joseph’s reaction.

You commented that Joseph “shrunk back” and “decided to judge and not love” --- the “moment he heard, he thought about what others would think of her.” That he choose not to “even figure out what was going on” --- “not even willing to speak to her to find out the truth.”

He jumped to a conclusion, to condemn her and was “so quick to” do it.

This is certainly true sometimes in my life, and I’m sure others --- but as for Joseph I’m not sure how you understand this to be the case; it’s simply not in the text. In fact it says:

“And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things …” and then the Angel appears.

We don’t see him jumping to a conclusion, or doing anything quickly, he was considering. In fact the Greek word used is to: “to bring to mind, revolve in mind, ponder, to think, to deliberate.” I’m not sure you can draw from this that Joseph was being rash, or quick to judge, or that he automatically assumed anything. It seems clear he did wish to divorce Mary, but it also says this is because he is a just (righteous) man.

While the points you make are dead on, convictingly (is that a word?) so --- was Joseph really acting in the way you concluded?

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