Welcome back, members of the jury. Today we are continuing with the testimony of one
Matthew—also known as
Levi—former tax collector and later disciple and apostle of Jesus of Nazareth. I intend to support his testimony with the testimony of other witnesses, but Matthew will remain our focus throughout this series of broadcasts. Having given us the genealogy of Jesus, Matthew turns to the circumstances surrounding Jesus’ birth. Now, we’ve already seen that Jesus was born some time in the autumn (probably September) and that the traditional date of December 25th is almost certainly wrong. Matthew opens up his account of the birth of Christ this way:
Now the birth of Jesus Christ happened this way: When his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit.
The testimony is explicit. Mary and Joseph were espoused (effectively married) but they had not consummated the marriage. Mary discovered that she was pregnant and disclosed this to Joseph, her husband. Then:
Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, decided to put her away privately.
Joseph was a good-hearted man. He didn’t want to hurt Mary, but he also didn’t want to live with a woman who had an affair with another man. He wouldn’t trust her. And so he was going to divorce her and put her away, privately. Continue with me a little further and we’ll read of a miraculous encounter that changed his mind.