Plan A for Joseph was to marry Mary. They are betrothed, which at the time was an official ceremony that contractually bound a couple together. The couple would not yet live together, but entered a yearlong engagement, which took a divorce to break off. During that year, Joseph learns that Mary is pregnant and he knows that he is not the child’s father. Now comes Plan B.The sermon looks at how Plan C has worked itself out in my life and how it might work in yours. The full text of the sermon is online here: Plan C.
Matthew writes, “Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly.” This is to put it mildly. We later read how in Jesus’ ministry he prevents the public stoning of a woman caught in no less a public disgrace. Being engaged to Mary, Joseph could have denounced her publicly and cried out for her to be put to death by stoning. But, we learn that Joseph would never consider this. Instead, Plan B for Joseph is to quietly make some arrangements to break off the engagement without Mary facing an angry mob.
Then God intervenes with Plan C. An angel appears to Joseph in a dream to assure Joseph that this was God’s plan all along. In God’s plan, Joseph will take on the minor public dishonor of having everyone assume the child that would otherwise be born out of wedlock is his own. Joseph marries Mary, she has a child who Joseph names Jesus, which means “God saves.”
God will save and God will do it through Jesus. But Joseph and Mary were essential to the plan. Mary had to consent to the pregnancy and Joseph to the marriage. I promise you; this is not the life of which either of Jesus’ parents dreamed. It wasn’t their Plan A or Plan B. But it was God’s plan all along.
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor
Labels: Gospel reading