January 14 – Responsibility

Read: Isaiah 7 and Matthew 1:18-23

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14 ESV)

Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). (Matthew 1:18, 22, 23 ESV)

The prophetic nature of the Bible is an incredible thing. The Old Testament is packed with scripture pointing ahead to the coming of Christ. The passage in Isaiah 7:14 was written 700 years before the birth of Jesus.

Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, was most likely a teenager. 2000 years ago it was quite common for Jewish girls to become betrothed once they were old enough to have kids. The betrothal was a lawful tradition that preceded marriage. It was similar to engagement, but had legally binding ramifications. It would typically last about a year long, as the young man would attain the young woman’s commitment and then set out to build a home for them. At the completion of their home there would then be a great wedding feast, sometimes lasting a week, and they would officially be legally married at the moment of consummation. While the Bible doesn’t directly state the specific age of Mary, the information provided, along with the knowledge gleaned from historical study of Jewish tradition, points to Mary being incredibly young at the time she became pregnant with Jesus. She was probably between twelve and nineteen years old.

We live in an age when people are getting married later in life and having fewer children, but in the birth story of Jesus we see that Mary and Joseph were set to be wed at an early age. One of the things that stands in such contrast to our society is how these two incredibly young people responded to the events that unfold within their lives. Tasked by God Himself to parent and care for the incarnation of the Son of God, Mary and Joseph seem well suited to the job…and they were perhaps only teenagers. Think about the teens you know. How would you feel about handing them the most important parental gig in the history of the world?

God came into history as Jesus. It was prophesied by Isaiah 700 years before it happened. Mary bore the responsibility of her eventuality remarkably well. How do we steward that which God has made us responsible for?

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