The Pledge and With Child

Brian Doyle starts a series looking at Joseph in the Christmas Story.

The Pledge

Matthew 1:18
“This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph....”
Luke 2:5

“He went there (Bethlehem) to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him.....”

A Pledge is a solemn vow. This ‘pledge’ was a bigger deal than a 21st century engagement. The two families had an agreement, a contract, in which Mary was ‘pledged’ to Joseph.

There was no ‘dating’ in Jewish culture. Fathers did much more than counsel their children about marriage. They carefully arranged who they would marry within the ‘faith community’ and then Dad and Mom guided them through this transition.

It is almost impossible for a young man in the 21st Century to consider this as an option, but two thousand years ago, Joseph ‘trusted and allowed’ his parents to do just that.

Ultimately, Joseph ‘trusted and allowed’ Almighty God to choose his bride. The custom was different then it is now, but it was still a step of faith that God was Good and would Provide direction to his parents in this decision.

Just remember: There are many things out of my control, but today I need to trust that
God is Good and will provide His very best for me.

With Child

Matthew 1:18
“Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child....”

Scripture clarifies that this pregnancy was ‘through the Holy Spirit’ and I’m sure that is what Mary desperately tried to explain to Joseph.
     1. Uh Joseph, I am pregnant.
     2. Don’t worry though, actually God did this to me.

Matthew 1:19
“So her husband Joseph, being a righteous man, and not wanting to disgrace her publicly, decided to divorce her secretly.”

- a righteous man
Other translations read...
- a just man
- a good man
- a man full of integrity
- a man faithful to the law

How would most men react? Anger. Betrayal. Heartbroken. Deceived. The list goes on and on and on. Joseph was determined through all his emotions to do the right thing and to honor God with his actions.

Just remember:Pray for grace to be ready because at some point someone will share something with you that you are not ready to hear. Ask God to be able to respond like Joseph.


Brian Doyle is the Founder and President of Iron Sharpens Iron.