Have you ever been falsely accused? Have you ever felt the accompanying stings of rejection and ridicule? Whatever the circumstance may have been, it was a terrible feeling, wasn’t it? Be it an incidence in traffic, a misunderstanding with our spouse, perhaps a business-deal-gone-bad, false accusations make us burn. They drive us to explain ourselves, to make things right, to seek to set the record straight. Daniel Webster states it well, “Justice, sir, is the great interest of man on earth.” Why? Perhaps our desire for justice goes a bit deeper. A clear explanation is found in Deuteronomy 32:4, “As for the Rock,his work is perfect, for all his ways are just. He is a reliable God who is never unjust, he is fair and upright.” Justice is a reflection of the character of our God. Inherently we know this to be true. Even in our fallen state, our desire for justice reflects His image in us.
Can you imagine then, what must have gone through Mary’s head when, at the tender age of thirteen or so, the mighty arch angel Gabriel appeared to tell her that she would become pregnant with the son of God – by divine intervention? Scripture reveals very little questioning on Mary’s part besides the obvious. “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” (Luke 1:34) In fact, her response is one of total acceptance of her new situation. “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” (Luke 1:38)
You’d think she’d be panicked, her thoughts racing, ‘My reputation is ruined. I’m going to be falsely accused of having sex before marriage. Joseph is going to cast me aside and I am going to be alone with a baby. My family is going to disown me and I’ll have no home. I’m going to be stoned to death. Why me Lord?’
Joseph also had quite the predicament. Upon finding his betrothed to be pregnant, he considered his options according to the Mosaic Law by which he was bound. He could expose her publicly for being unfaithful, possibly subjecting her to stoning, divorce her privately or continue the engagement. As you can imagine, all three pose a dilemma. What must he have thought upon waking from a dream where an angel of the Lord definitively instructed him to take Mary as his wife? Again, Scripture reveals no indecision in Joseph. “When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.”(Matthew 1:24-25)
I wonder if his head reeled with thoughts of, ‘People are going to think she was unfaithful to me…was she? They are going to think that I got her pregnant. Either I come out looking like a heel or a sucker. I’ll probably have to move away’
Rejection. Mary and Joseph risked it in order to obey God; Jesus certainly knew it from the very start of His life on earth. “He was despised and rejected by people,one who experienced pain and was acquainted with illness; people hid their faces from him;he was despised, and we considered him insignificant.” Isaiah 53:3
Take time this week to meditate on this incredible story. What a contrast to the chaos and materialism leading up to Christmas that we experience today. But really, our issues are the same, aren’t they? Take heart if you find yourself far from home this Christmas. However you may feel separated, rejected or alone, know that there is always one place of safety and security… in the arms of our loving savior.
Important message for all of us.