“Behold, a virgin shall be with child” (Matt. 1:23).
Mary was highly honored that she should be chosen to be the virgin mother of Messiah. This was a distinction for which every Jewish woman had hoped and prayed. But — now that she had heard the glad news from the angel Gabriel, she was to find herself in the most embarrassing position of an unmarried maiden with child. Little wonder that Mary hastened to the hill country to visit Elisabeth, the mother-to-be of miraculously-born John, later called John the Baptist. Who, in such a case, would better understand, or be better fitted to give sympathetic advice to Mary?
Mary remained with Elisabeth for about three months, or until the birth of John the Baptist (Luke 1:36,56), but now the real test lay ahead, for she must return to her home in Nazareth to face her relatives and acquaintances — and Joseph, her love. What would they say? And above all, what would he say? How could they be expected to believe her story? An angel had appeared to her, indeed!
In the record of Joseph’s reactions we are given light as to the extreme embarrassment in which Mary now found herself. Consider Joseph’s position. Mary was his “espoused wife.” Why had she gone away — and stayed so long? And now, what is this? She is found with child — not by him. Her explanation, if indeed she offered it to him, must have seemed most unsatisfactory. He could have charged her with adultery and had her stoned, but “being a just [Lit., “fair-minded”] man” he “was minded to put her away privily” (Matt. 1:19).
But “while he thought on these things,” with a heavy heart, “the angel of the Lord appeared unto him” and Joseph learned the truth; that she was indeed to be the honored mother of the Messiah of Israel, the Redeemer of sinners.
It was because our Lord was the Son of God, born into the world by a virgin and not partaking of Adam’s sinful nature, that He could go to Calvary and pay the full penalty for our sins. He “suffered for sins, the Just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God” (I Pet. 3:18).
To the Reader:
Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago by Pastor C. R. Stam for publication in newspapers. When many of these articles were later compiled in book form, Pastor Stam wrote this word of explanation in the Preface:
"It should be borne in mind that the newspaper column, Two Minutes With the Bible, has now been published for many years, so that local, national and international events are discussed as if they occurred only recently. Rather than rewrite or date such articles, we have left them just as they were when first published. This, we felt, would add to the interest, especially since our readers understand that they first appeared as newspaper articles."
To this we would add that the same is true for the articles written by others that we continue to add, on a regular basis, to the Two Minutes library. We hope that you'll agree that while some of the references in these articles are dated, the spiritual truths taught therein are timeless.