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BACKGROUND: The leader may explain briefly Luke 1:26-38. According to Mosaic Law, engagement was as binding as marriage, and unfaithfulness during engagement was also punished by stoning. Sexual relations were not supposed to start before marriage (Deut.22).
  1. What shows us that Joseph suspected Mary of having deceived him (vs.18-19)?
    • What do you think was most difficult for Joseph in that situation?
    • Do you think Mary had talked to Joseph about the visitation of an angel? If not, why not? If yes, then why didn't Joseph believe her?
  2. Why didn't Joseph want to revenge the injustice and sue Mary and her family although, according to the law, he had the right to do it?
    • How do you think Joseph felt towards Mary in the situation described in verses 18-19?
  3. Why didn't God send an angel to Joseph the very same day that he sent one to Mary (vs.20)? (Why should Joseph's love have been tested in such a hard way?)
  4. A virgin birth means that a sperm cell comes to Mary's womb from outside this universe. On what grounds could Joseph believe in virgin birth, although no such thing had ever happened in world history before (vs.20-23)?
    • What features in our text prove to us that virgin birth is not a made-up story?
  5. Why do you think the virgin birth is for many (theologians too) the most difficult doctrine to believe?
    • How does the belief in the virgin birth and our concept of God belong together?
  6. Why wouldn't it have been possible for Jesus to save his people from their sins if he had been the son of Joseph and Mary?
    • Recall a sin that your conscience is accusing you for committing. Then read verse 21 again, putting your own name in the place of words "his people". Do you believe this verse is true when read in this way?
  7. How could Joseph keep himself from touching his beloved Mary even when they were living under the same roof (vs.25)?
  8. Probably everybody thought that the child Mary was bearing was Joseph's. Do you think Joseph tried to free himself from false accusations in front of his and Mary's relatives?
    • Why did God choose none other than Joseph to be a foster father for his Son?

GLAD TIDINGS: Joseph probably died before Jesus started his public ministry, but he knew the main thing about his foster son: He would save his people - including his foster father - from their sins.

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