THE EARTHLY FAMILY OF JESUS
Mary was about 12 years old when betrothed to marry Joseph. Joseph was likely about 40 years old. The betrothal was the only legal ceremony. It took a divorce to be break the betrothal. The betrothal was the acceptance of the marriage to come, taken before witnesses. Jacob took seven years paying the dowry for Rachel, and seven years for Leah. During the betrothal period, unfaithfulness was "adultery" (Deuteronomy 22:23, Matthew 1:19)
The fact that Joseph was the earthly father of Jesus, was very significant. He had the legal right to the throne of David. His lineage is significant. The Jews put much emphasis on genealogies, so the fact of Jesus being descended from David, of vital importance.
In Matthew, the genealogy is in three parts.
From Abraham to David
From David to the captivity
From the captivity to Christ
Matthew goes back to Abraham to show that Jesus was not just of Judah, but of the same lineage as all of Israel.
It was unusual to mention, but there are four women listed in the lineage of Jesus. Tamar, committed adultery with Judah to bring about the lineage as prophesied. Rahab, was a Gentile who by faith in the God of Israel was included by God into this lineage. Ruth, a Gentile that love for the people of God, and a love for the God of that same people, was brought into the lineage. Bathsheba, a Gentile, and David reached out to bring her into the lineage.
In the lineage, Joseph is called the "husband of Mary" not the "father of Jesus". Jesus was the legitimate son of Joseph, therefore entitled to the throne. After being legally betrothed, Joseph learned of Mary's pregnancy. A betrothed man had a duty in the matter. Being just, righteous.. he could not overlook the apparent sin" of Mary. Being loving, he desired to deal tenderly, not wishing to expose her. So he decided to put her away privately.
"Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife."
The alternatives of Joseph were public exposure and public humiliation possibly leading to stoning... or to quietly cancel the betrothal.
The dream of Joseph gave Joseph the answer. The angel addresses Joseph as a "son of David" to remind him of the expectancy he was to have as to having the Messiah through his lineage... With the revelation of the identity of the unborn child, Joseph ceased from brooding doubts... Then, Joseph was told the name "Jesus" a name all of Judah wanted to give their sons.
God gave more guidance,
"Arise, take the child and His mother..."
The Old Testament had foretold of a Son born of a virgin... and so Joseph hesitated no more and took Mary into his house to assure Jesus the legitimate claim to be Joseph's heir.
This father, Joseph was a carpenter.
"Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James and Joses, and Simon and Judas?"
Joseph was also a just man.
"Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily."
The annunciation to Mary at Nazareth is recorded in:
"...Hail, thou who art highly favored, the Lord is with thee, blessed art thou among women... Fear not, for thou hast found favor with God."
After learning from the angel of her blessed CHILD being placed in her womb. Mary departs to "hill country" "with haste" "into a city of Judah" to see Elizabeth, her aunt. There Elizabeth greets her with:
"(vs. 42) Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the Fruit of thy womb..."
Mary stayed with Elizabeth three months
"And Mary abode with her about three months, and returned to her own house."
At Bethlehem, Mary and Joseph were visited by shepherds.
"And there were in the same country, shepherds abiding in the field... And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger..."
The Levite shepherds told of the angelic chorus that they had witnessed and these same shepherds became the first preachers. Mary pondered these sayings of the shepherds for many years.
Mary was "highly favored". She was more favored than any other woman, to be the mother of the Lord.
The Son she was to bear– was:
to be called "the Son of the Most High" (Luke 1:32)
to be given the "throne of David"
His reign to be eternal (Luke 1:32-33, Isa. 9:6-7)
to be holy from the womb (Luke 1:35)
to have the name "Jesus" (Luke 1:31)
to be sinless.
Mary accepted all these truths in humility.
"And Mary said, Behold, the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word."
Mary was to not only have the blessing of sword to pierce through her own soul.
"(Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed."
Mary's character was one to be greatly admired. She had a quietness of spirit, a meditative, inwardness of disposition, self-control, and she was very devout. She was honored and favored of God for such character.
Mary continued to have such disposition and character... because she knew that she was raising the Messiah. The love of offspring was deeply embedded in Hebrew women. (Jacob obeyed his father and mother, the law said to honor father and mother, a child that strikes a father or mother was killed (Exodus 20:15-17). Thus showing the great respect given by God to the mother.
The Psalmist says that the deepest grief is for a mother:
"I bowed down heavily, as one that mourneth for his mother."
The Lord tells us that the greatest human comfort comes from a mother:
"As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you."
Who did God choose to be the mother of Jesus? Mary, a descendant of David, a young girl, a devout person.
Many false doctrines about Mary.
This doctrine is not Scriptural, for "all have sinned."
2. perpetual virginity
This doctrine cannot be true, for the Bible speaks of the "brethren of the Lord"
Mary had five sons.
Jesus, the Son of God
James, Joses, Simon, and Jude, the sons of Joseph
Mary had three daughters, three half sisters of Jesus
"are not His sisters here with us."
Mark 13:55-56, Mark 6:3
Jesus was called Mary's "firstborn".
(Matthew 1:25, Luke 2:7)
The terminology "only begotten" is used only of Jesus to the Father (John 1:14, 18, 3:16, 18, I John 4:9)
The O.T. prophecies say Jesus was to have siblings:
"I am become a stranger unto My brethren, and an alien unto My mother's children."
The brother's of Jesus did not believe on Him until after the resurrection (John 7:3-10, Acts 1:14).
3. Mary's glorification and ascension
This is not true, not recorded in Scripture, nor in early church history, but was added into Roman Catholic history hundreds of years later. The grave of Mary is found in Ephesus.
4. perpetual sonship and subordination of Jesus to Mary
Jesus accepted subordination to Mary, only as it applied to His earthly life. Even at age 12, He showed His Own decisive sovereignty, as He remained behind to begin His Father's work.
5. Mary is an intercessor and mediator of mankind to Jesus
There is only 'One Mediator between God and man, Christ Jesus', and Mary has the same intercessory ministry as all other saints of God, no more, no less.
These kind of false doctrines keep many from talking much about Mary, but we do talk of Paul, Peter, etc.
For forty days, Mary could not come into the temple proper area, but after 7 days, on the eighth day, the male child would be circumcised. (Leviticus 12:1-4).
After the circumcision, as Joseph, Mary, and baby Jesus were traveling back to Bethlehem, the wise men followed the light in the sky. In Bethlehem, the wise men worshiped this new born King of Kings.
The gold, frankincense, and myrrh financed the flight to Egypt to keep Jesus safe from Herod. They then fled to hide in Egypt. The flight to Egypt, right after the departure of the Magi was the plan of God, to hide the new born King from the slaughter of 14,000 babies back in Judah.
In Egypt, near the friendly and refuge of Israel in the former times, Jesus was safe... for He had "come to His Own, and "His own received Him not..."
Note the obedient nature of Joseph, for he was willing, for the safety of a child, not his own, to flee his own country, his professional career, and hide from Herod. How long was his stay in Egypt? a few months? years? We are not sure, but likely around a month. For Herod died in less than a month of the flight of Joseph and the family from Bethlehem. Imagine how many babies would have been killed, if Herod had lived years following the order to kill the babies 2 years and younger!!!
Herod died at Jericho, rotten in body, and was the most unmourned man of his time. News of his death spread rapidly. Joseph waited for direction from the Lord.
Mary was still a virgin, and technically should not have needed to sojourn for purification for 40 days. On the ninth day after the birth, following the visit of the wise men, Joseph, Mary and the babe had fled to Egypt. On the 40th day, Joseph came back to Jerusalem with Mary and the babe, and likely the death of Herod had already taken place. There in the Temple, on the 40th day, a pair of turtle doves offered as part of her purification... and five shekels were offered by Joseph, making Joseph the legal father (Numbers 18:15-16).
Jewish law required that on the eighth day ... the newborn male was to be circumcised and receive His name (Luke 1:59-63). Then on the 40th day, the purifying of Mary... via the sacrifice of two turtle doves, 5 shekels of silver to be given. The two turtle doves, one for burnt offering, one for a sin offering were offered, indicating that Joseph had already spent the money gained by the gifts of the wise men. Lodging, food, and travel had cost much. He was anxious to return to his profession.
While in Jerusalem for this sacrifice, Simeon prophesied that this child was born "for the falling and the rising of many... sword should pierce through Mary's own soul" (Luke 2:34-35). Anna also blessed Jesus.
Archelaus, reigned in his father's place. He had a kindred nature to Herod, he was suspicious... hateful, and would have been nearly as bad a threat to Jesus, as was his father. He was the worst of Herod's sons.
Archelaus was later banished, deposed by Romans for misgovernment in 6 A.D., about the time Jesus would be nearing 12. This is likely why we do not see more of Jesus in Jerusalem, until He was 12 years old.
The nation of Israel had been divided into three parts. The three parts were ruled by three men.
The parts of the kingdom, Archelaus ruled were:
Judea, Idumea, Samaria
Galilee and Peraea
Batanea, Trachonitis, and Auranitis
Following the death of Herod, Mary, Joseph, Jesus, and the other siblings born to Mary and Joseph went to Nazareth to live, unable to visit Jerusalem for Archelaus was alive until Jesus was 12. Then the visits to Jerusalem could be yearly.
Joseph -- was a simple, hard working, God-fearing man. He had a warm heart. He was a strict observer of Jewish law. In face of possible slanderings by neighbors, he and his family stayed in Nazareth. He had made complete self-sacrifice (fled to Egypt) to save Jesus from Herod, but now in this small, Galilean town, of Nazareth, he would raise the Son of God.
Nazareth called el-Medinat el- baidah, "the white town" for it was built of white stone supplied by limestone rocks. This little town was on the western and N.W. slopes of a hallow among the hills of Galilee. It was half-way between the sea of Galilee and Haifa (on the Mediterranean).
At the foot of the north hill, a good spring provided water for the little town. A conduit took water to a fountain where women and children would get water to carry home in jars. Another tiny spring in the side of a western hill supplied more water.
On the Northwestern hill was a synagogue. The attempt on Jesus' life may have been on the high cliff of Nazareth, not far from the synagogue.
The view from the hilltop near this synagogue is awesome. The view from which could be seen the Mediterranean Sea, when looking West. Mt. Hermon, the same mountain on which the transfiguration occurred, could be seen to the North. Mt. Bashan could be seen to the East. Samaria could be seen to the South. The whole valley of Megiddo could be viewed from this hilltop.
Jesus first sermon preached there :
"And He came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read."
The people had much unbelief, and found it difficult for them to accept the Boy from Nazareth Who now was preaching, and performing miracles...
"And He did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief."
"Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?" John 1:46
Jesus learned to be a carpenter (Greek "tekton" a craftsman, a worker in wood, doors, doorways, locks, furniture). But He also studied the Scriptures found in the synagogue of Nazareth, and was told by Mary of the events of the nativity.
By the 12th year of Jesus, Jesus had grown, learned, and become very wise:
"Jesus grew and waxed strong, filled with wisdom and grace of God was upon Him... advanced in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man..."
At 12, Jesus "tarried behind" (Luke 2:43) and was lost for three days. The parents had gone a day's journey, and had rushed back (perhaps a half day to return). Therefore, they were looking for Jesus for one and half days. Imagine the deep distress of Mary and Joseph, and the stress of watching out for the 7 younger siblings of Jesus. The rabbis went to certain rooms within the Temple to teach. Jesus went "in the midst" sitting at the feet of these scholars, asking questions (as pupils were permitted to do). The learned men were startled with His wisdom.
To His distressed parents, Jesus said:
"How is it that ye sought Me? ...be about My Father's business."
At 12, Jesus was to be apprenticed to His Father, and He obviously reasoned that Father to be Jehovah, not Joseph. Jesus had been well-taught by Mary.
At the age of 30, Jesus traveled to a wedding at Cana. It was at that age, 30, that priests would begin their ministry in the Temple. At this wedding at Cana (John 2:1-11), there was a crisis of need. Mary turned to Jesus and was rebuffed by Him. Undaunted, undisturbed by His reply, Mary still prepared the servants to await and to obey His answer. Mary's quiet and yet forceful personality was thereby shown.
When Mary learned of the plot of the religious of that day to kill her Son, she brought His brothers with her to dissuade Jesus from going to the dangerous area of the country.
"While He yet talked to the people, behold, His mother and His brethren stood without desiring to speak with Him..."
At the cross, Mary was there. (John 19:25) Mary was about 46 years old at the time. Jesus could not have spoken as He did there, had he not maintained and fulfilled the role of "eldest son". The words of Jesus to John and to His mother, shows the tender love and mutual understanding for each other. Jesus gave a sacred charge to John. She then went with John to Ephesus, remembering the warning of Simeon, that a "sword would pierce her..." via this Son.
At Pentecost, (Acts 1:14), Mary was being obedient to the command of Jesus to "tarry until".
"And they (the disciples) continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary, the mother of Jesus, and with His brethren."
This is the last mention of Mary in Scripture.
Mothers today do not have "perfect children". Mary had one of eight children who were "perfect". So even Mary raised imperfect ones. Mary's four other sons would not follow Jesus until after the resurrection. Mary certainly encouraged them to believe in the Lord Jesus, but they could only see a "big brother", and could not see the "Messiah".
Finally, at Pentecost, they were there. James was probably 31 to 32, Joses was over 30, Simon was in his mid 20's, and Jude was in his early 20's... and they finally became disciples. Though saved, as Jesus knew they would be, Jesus had not trusted them enough to have them oversee their mother, Mary... But they were finally in the fold. James wrote the epistle that we know by that name in the Bible. Jude wrote a short epistle also. James became the head of the Jerusalem church, pastor to even Peter, John, etc. for some time until they left the city.