John Barnett

It was nearly 2,000 years ago that God spoke to a young, teenage couple. They had been engaged for marriage by their parents. Mary was probably between 14 and 16, and Joseph was between 18 and 20. Their lives up to this historic moment had been exemplary, in fact they were chosen by God because He knew He could count on them.

Joseph was described by God as "just." He was righteous as a young man of conviction. He had chosen the path of holding to his Biblical convictions and practicing self-denial. God knew he was pure, had chosen pure habits, and fled sexual sins. Those choices made him just the man God could use at this historic moment. And Mary was the same. She was a woman of the Word. She lived her faith, and considered herself a bond slave for the Lord.

Joseph was a great man in the sight of the Lord, with few details given in God's Word. His father's name was Jacob (Matthew 1:16), and he is described as a craftsman or construction worker (tekton), which may have meant a stone worker or a carpenter (Matthew 13:55). The most important truth recorded by God is that he was a "righteous man" (Matthew 1:19). Joseph is a clear portrait of an Old Testament saint.

Mary is also portrayed as a godly woman who was sensitive and submissive to the Lord's will. Her response to Gabriel's announcement says it all - Mary said, "Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; be it done to me according to your word" (Luke 1:26-38Luke 1:26-38).

Taken from "Joseph & Mary" by Discover the Book Ministries (used by permission).