Summary: Mary gets a lot of attention in the Christmas story, but what about Joseph? Video clip suggestion. Easy to use outline and narrative.
A MYSTERY, A MIRACLE AND A TOTAL LIFE MAKE-OVER.
Video clip suggestion: “Joseph’s Quill” available at www.sermonspice.com
Opening Ilustration: My wife Cambria and I have been blessed with three wonderful kids. We love them equally. They are hilarious to watch. Looking for some laughs? Come to my house. My kids will not only entertain you, they’ll gross you out. There is something about the number three and having kids that go hand and hand. Three is just enough for group fun. But the truth is, only two of our three children were planned. The third one just kinda slipped in there as a surprise. I remember how I felt when Cambria told me that she was pregnant. It was so unexpected, that it took me by total surprise. I swallowed hard, nodded my head and began to think of what life would now be like with three kids instead of two. The words, “I’m pregnant” changed everything.
Those very same words changed Joseph’s life in ways that perhaps none of us could imagine. He was engaged to be married to a beautiful young woman by the name of Mary. And from out of nowhere drops a bombshell, “I’m pregnant.” Joseph, is thinking to himself, “What have I gotten myself into?” He initially plans to quietly divorce Mary and send her on her way. But then once again the unexpected occurs. One night while Joseph is alseep an angel of the Lord appears to him in a dream and says “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the HOLY SPIRIT.” Matthew 1:
This is what I love about the Gospel of Matthew, Joseph plays a significant role. He’s not a mere bystander as many Christmas plays would lead you to believe. Too often Mary gets all the attention and Joseph is along for the ride. Nothing could be further from the truth. Joseph’s role was a quiet, but significant. An angel of the Lord appeared to him 3 times. And each time Joseph responded with obedience. God moved in Joseph’s life in a supernatural way. He accepted the Mystery of Mary’s pregnancy.
1. JOSEPH ACCEPTED THE MYSTERY OF MARY’S PREGNANCY.
Joseph’s life was interrupted with the strange and mysterious pregnancy of a virgin. Even today it sounds a bit far fetched. A virgin birth. That’s impossible! This is one of the great mysteries of our faith. God chose to send his only Son into the world in way that none of us would have imagined.
Through the prophet Isaiah, God said, “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.”
Humanly speaking, I would have never thought of Christ coming into the world the way he did. God chose to do it a way that none of us would expect. He chose a virgin by the name of Mary. I think I would have done it differently. I would have selected a well to do family for the Christ child. At the very least, I would have chosen a couple fully married. In addition to that, I would have made sure the Christ child had accessibility to the best medicine and care. However, God chose to do it differently. He chose lowly Mary and a perplexed man by the name of Joseph. It’s a mystery. Joseph accepted the mystery. Not only did Joseph accept the mystery, he embraced the miracle.
2. JOSEPH EMBRACED THE MIRACLE OF CHRIST’ BIRTH.
Joseph obeyed the angel’s call to take Mary as his wife and from that moment on Joseph assumed the role of a proud father. Imagine the Son of God calling you Daddy. Joseph had that awesome privilege. Jesus would walk in his footsteps and call Joseph what Jewish sons would call their fathers. Based on what we know about Joseph from the Gospel of Matthew, he enthusiastically accepted his role as the earthly father of Jesus. Even though this child was not his own, he embraced the miracle of his coming and in obedience to the angel’s command.
Believing in miracles is not as crazy as you might think. Most people believe in miracles. In fact, we were born to believe. God created us to step out into the unknown. We have a longing deep inside of us to believe in the impossible. Joseph was a man who embraced miracles in his life.
Have you made room in your life for miracles? Does God have permission to interrupt your life and surprise you with the miracles. Is there any supernatural way that God can find his way into your otherwise orderly life?
I’m amazed at how little Joseph has to go on. God never really explained the mystery. Joseph was humanly afraid to take Mary as his wife. This appears to be the only concern addressed by the angel. “Joseph do not be afraid...” Joseph left his fear behind and took a leap of faith. He believed in God’s miracle. He embraced it. What about you today? Are you like a Joseph? Willing to embrace miracles?