|Posted by Donna Dawson on November 14, 2011 at 3:10 PM|
There has always been debate about the validity of Mary's miraculous conception. One part of it that many seem to have missed is the eye witness account. There were two people of extreme credibility who could vouch for her. (God's witness notwithstanding.)
We have her cousin Elizabeth and her husband Zechariah. Some may say, "That's rigged, in view of the fact that they are related." Well, let's follow this train of thought. Let's begin with Zechariah. He was a priest. In Luke 1 he is described as devout and Doctor Luke goes on to add detail. Stating that it is the time of Herod, King of Judea, Luke talks about Zechariah's duty as one whose turn it was to burn incense before the Lord. Not just anyone could burn incense before the Lord. They had to have the reputation of devotion. They had to be of upstanding nature and they had to have the bloodline for it. To cap that off, God chose them, by lot, to stand before him and serve him. This particular priest would have bells attached to the garments worn in the Holy of Holies so that if, by some chance, he sinned and was struck down, the other priests would know. The bells would stop jingling. Zechariah was so devout that the lot fell to him and he not only served before God but spoke to an angel. Witnesses in the temple declared that he had been in the Holy of Holies far longer than he should have--an offense unless he truly was conversing with an angel. So...we have a man who is considered by many of the people to be without reproach--of excellent reputation. If Mary hadn't arrived at his home when she did, he would have surely spoken out to that effect.
Then we have Elizabeth. She was expecting her own child when Mary arrived to her home. This wasn't uncommon for a relative to aide a pregnant woman in the last three months of her pregnancy. Elizabeth, being the wife of a priest, had to have the same kind of reputation as her husband or he would not be permitted to serve in the temple. So we have two witnesses of unquestionable reputation who claim that Mary was a virgin when she arrived at their home. Joseph would not have been given permission to visit since Elizabeth was pregnant and that was not acceptable. For three months Mary was single and a virgin--and yet she became pregnant--while under the protection of two people with flawless reputations.
Then we have Joseph. In areas of the middle east even today a woman found pregnant is assumed to be adulterous and worthy of death. Why was Mary not stoned as was demanded? Why was Joseph willing to take to wife a woman who was now considered unclean? He would risk being shunned. He would lose customers. He would be turned out of the temple. And yet he wasn't. Why? Could it be that he, too, had a flawless reputation within the community?
Finally we have Mary. When she delivered her child I am sure there were those who did some serious counting backwards. What would they discover? That she and Joseph hadn't even been in the same town--and that she was under the protection of her cousin who just happens to be the wife of one of the most respected priests in the area. There are too many factors that point to a miraculous conception. Mary should have been shamed. She should have been disowned, first, by her righteous family members and then, by Joseph. She should have been stoned to death for breaking the law in the most shameful of ways. And yet--she was honoured--sung about--remembered for 2000 years as being a woman of God. That, in itself, is a miracle.
Yes, Mary was the one chosen for the miraculous conception and because of her willingness, we can live in spiritual freedom.