Advent, Week 1, Day 2
Matthew 1:18-25 18-19 The birth of Jesus took place like this. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. Before they came to the marriage bed, Joseph discovered she was pregnant. (It was by the Holy Spirit, but he didn’t know that.) Joseph, chagrined but noble, determined to take care of things quietly so Mary would not be disgraced.
20-23 While he was trying to figure a way out, he had a dream. God’s angel spoke in the dream: “Joseph, son of David, don’t hesitate to get married. Mary’s pregnancy is Spirit-conceived. God’s Holy Spirit has made her pregnant. She will bring a son to birth, and when she does, you, Joseph, will name him Jesus—‘God saves’—because he will save his people from their sins.”….
24-25 Then Joseph woke up. He did exactly what God’s angel commanded in the dream: He married Mary. (The Message Bible)
God made us social beings, and so rejection hits our very core. I recently read that the pain of rejection runs along the same neural pathways as physical pain, and is experienced by the body in the same way as experiencing a broken arm. In addition, experiencing rejection may include the added pain of loneliness and uncertain about the future.
Mary was engaged, but not yet married when she became pregnant with Jesus at God’s command. Joseph was obviously not the father. In her culture, becoming pregnant outside of marriage would have been seen as adultery, punishable by stoning. (John 7:53-8:11) Unless the husband-to-be took her to be his wife. (I assume then that this meant that Joseph claimed the child as his own.) Because he chose to marry Mary rather than bringing her disgrace, did Joseph then take the brunt of hostility from the community for her “breaking the laws of God”? (Bible History Online)
These were good, law-abiding Jewish young people, probably in their teens. They’d done nothing other than obey God. Think for a moment of the implications of their obedience. Great blessings, at tremendous cost. They must have understood rejection.
Jesus also experienced great rejection as he grew up. We read in John:
John 1:10-11 He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. 11 He came to his own people, and even they rejected him.
Because Jesus understands the pain of rejection, he is able to comfort us.
Isaiah 42:2-4 spoke of Jesus:
He won’t call attention to what he does
with loud speeches or gaudy parades.
He won’t brush aside the bruised and the hurt
and he won’t disregard the small and insignificant,
but he’ll steadily and firmly set things right.
He won’t tire out and quit. He won’t be stopped
until he’s finished his work—to set things right on earth.”… (the Message)
Where can we go as we deal with the pain of rejection? We can run to Jesus who understands the pain of rejection!
With love and prayers,