The joy of the visit to
Elizabeth soon gave way to anguish of spirit. Only one who has been under suspicion would
understand the feelings of her pure heart when she arrived home and Joseph began to cast
It is not recorded in Scripture that she uttered one word in her defense. She had
learned to trust every detail of her life to God. She carried His Son; He would uphold her
But day after day it became increasingly obvious to Joseph that she was with child. He
loved her too much and understood her too well to question her integrity, but he knew that
the Child she carried was not his.
They were espoused, but Scripture says he did not know her. Had he also taken a vow of
virginity? They were espoused at least six months and yet he was puzzled.
He saw Mary, the joy of his heart, day after day, and his heart ached. He could not
sleep or work and the more attention she gave him at meals or in the shop, the more
anguish filled his heart.
And what of Mary? Her loving heart must have been broken to see one so loving in such
distress. Should she tell him what really happened? Would he believe such a mystery? Was
it her place to explain? How many questions filled her mind!
No-one knew how the Messiah would come and although His coming was prophesied and
foretold centuries ago, the reality was so different. No, she would pray and wait for
God's time. What profound faith it took! What deep hope she needed to carry on her duties
in silence and love.
To see Joseph suffer so much must have wrenched her heart many times. It is always
difficult to see those we love suffer and we would go to any length to help alleviate
their pain. And yet, Mary - the variant woman - would not explain, even though her silence
meant more anguish for Joseph.
The one thing they had in common was their sorrow. Each wanted to speak to the other -
one to ask "Why?" - the other to answer "How?" but neither one spoke a
word of what weighed heavy on his heart.
She was too lovely, kind and holy to be doubted, but one thing Joseph knew - he was not
the father. He was a just man who loved God above all things and it never crossed his mind
that his espoused wife might be the Promised Woman. He knew she was special and this is
what made it so difficult to do what he knew he must.
He could not bring himself to expose her to public ridicule but neither could he
pretend the child was his, and so he decided to divorce her privately.
Mary must have sensed his dilemma and prayed to the Father for a solution that would
set Joseph's heart at rest.
The time of suffering and purification was over and an Angel of the Lord appeared to
Joseph in his sleep and said, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary
home as your wife, because she has conceived what is in her by the Holy Spirit. She will
give birth to a son and you must name Him Jesus, because He is the One who is to save His
people from their sins." What overwhelming joy and consternation must have filled his
heart. He must have wept with joy and knelt in prayer before the living Ark of the
Covenant - the Holy Temple in which dwelt, in a physical manner, the Son of God.
And now three people knew, but the Deceiver knew it not.
C O N T I N U E