Advent

Sunday, December 20, 2020

A THIRD WAY

19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. Matthew 1:19

Joseph found himself caught in a nightmare situation that was none of his fault. His fiancé was pregnant, and he knew he was not the father. By Jewish law he had a legal case against her for adultery—and the traditional penalty for that was death by stoning. Hurt though he must have been, Joseph had no desire for that.

There was another option in Joseph’s day, which was to divorce her. He could do that as publicly or quietly as he liked. Being a compassionate man, he decided to do it quietly and hope that the reason didn’t become widely known. These were the only two choices he had—or so he thought.

A third choice opened up when the angel came to visit him—a choice Joseph never could have imagined. He could go ahead and take Mary home to be his wife, and take Jesus to be his son. This would be an act of sheer grace. If he chose to believe her story, he would be laying himself open to the mocking of everybody in the village who learned she was pregnant too early. He would be blamed—or worse, pitied as a cuckold.

We know what Joseph chose. And is it really surprising, this small act of grace, in a story which is all about God’s grace to us? God didn’t have to save us—didn’t have to take us into His family— didn’t have to love and accept us as His own. But He chose to make it so—through the birth, life, death, and resurrection of His Son Jesus.

Father, thank You for graciously making me Your own. Amen

Reflect & Discuss

1. What do you do when there are no good choices?

2. Did you, or someone you know, ever find an unexpected gracious option to take?

3. When has someone shown you unexpected grace?

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© 2020 Lutheran Hour Ministries

Lutheran Hour Ministries (LHM) is a Christian outreach ministry supporting churches worldwide in its mission of Bringing Christ to the Nations—and the Nations to the Church. Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Capitalization of pronouns referring to the Deity has been added and is not part of the original English Standard Version text.