Summary: This Series of Sermons looks at the love of God displayed through the various characters in the Christmas Story. This sermon focuses on Joseph's love for Mary, for Jesus and for God.
I.Sunday School teacher: "Why did Mary and Joseph take Jesus with them to Jerusalem?" Little Joanie: "Maybe they couldn't get a baby-sitter?"
A.We live in a pagan world that will do everything it can to ignore the Christmas story.
1.But it is for us in the counterculture of the Christianity to shout the message of God’s love to this world so desperate for real love.
2.We need to tell our children, our grandchildren and everyone the Greatest Love Story.
B.We need to do it with a bit of humor and place it in our terms.
1.Like could you imagine Jesus being born today with all the ways modern, parents want to capture all the memories on video.
2.Just imagine the wise men's visit today.
3.Mary to Joseph, “Joseph, will you grab the video camera? I've got to get this on tape.”
a.Mary speaks to the wise men, “Say, would you mind backing up and approaching the house again, maybe a little more slowly this time, but with some eager expressions please?”
b.“OK-- no, that camel is blocking the angle.”
II.Joseph is one of those characters in the Bible that does not get very much press.
A.If you were to cast a modern day movie star in the role of Joseph who would you pick?
1.Surely not Arnold Schwatsnagger.
a.You would not pick Tom Cruise.
b.Maybe if he were still alive, you might pick Jimmy Stewart, the down home boy from Indiana Pennsylvania.
2.He loved his wife to be, He love his adoptive son, and He loved God.
B.Even the Bible give little mention of him siting his name only sixteen times.
1.He is not even mentioned in the Gospel of Mark.
2.In all respects he was a very common man without much notice.
III.He loved his wife to be because he did not put her away after he found her to be pregnant.
A. 18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows. When His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit.
1.The word in the Greek for came together is the same as live together and have marital relationships.
2.Before this marriage could be consummated, Mary was already pregnant and it was known to him. Perhaps she had left for her cousin Elizabeth’s and the new had spread.
3.This normally would have meant breaking the betrothal agreement.
a.And since they were betrothed to each other, she could be stoned for adultery or for fornication. Deut. 22:23-24
b.But even without God’s dream, Joseph loved Mary and wanted to protect her from harm.
B.19 And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man, and not wanting to disgrace her, desired to put her away secretly.
1.The word here in the Greek for righteous is “one who seeks justice and fairness”
2.The word “put away quietly” found in the King James and New American is rightly translated in the New International.
a.It quite literally means “divorce.”
b.Betrothal was a legal marriage except for consummation and it took a degree of divorce to free both parties from their obligations.
c.Joseph was willing to set Mary free from her contract perhaps because she wanted to marry the father of her baby.
3.Joseph must have felt enraged and betrayed when he found out Mary was pregnant.
a.He knew he had not had any relations with her.
b.He must have wanted to know what man dared defile his bride to be.
c.He must have been so hurt and felt Mary had forsaken him.
d.But even in his rage and hurt, he could not think of embarrassing her in public or jeopardizing her life.
e.He was a religious, good man; and therefore inclined to be merciful as God is, and to forgive as one that was forgiven.
f.He loved her that much.
IV.God chose a man who would love His son because he love God.
A.He could not give Jesus any worldly greatness for he resided in a lowly remote village called Nazareth.
1.He could make no rightful claim to be Jesus’ father.
2.He could give Jesus no earthy or heavenly wealth or power.
3.He would never even see Jesus achieve greatness.
B.But he accepted his calling to raise the Son of God.
1.The angel asked him to give the Christ the name Jesus.
a.He was asked to take this baby’s mother as his wife.
b.In essence Joseph was being summoned to provide a home for the Savior of the world.
2.He gave Jesus his family name.
a.The baby Jesus was legally of the linage of David through BOTH his mother and earthly father.
b.But he did not limit his fathering to merely giving a name.
C.He loved Jesus by becoming Jesus’ defender and protector.
1.He took Jesus and his mother to EGYPT when he knew there was danger.