Summary: Jospeh was just the first one to see how upside down Christ really was going to make the world.
Believing the Unbelievable
(Reasoning with the Unreasonable?)
There’s a book out you’ve probably heard of – it’s called Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus, and its general point is that Men & Woman pretty much live on different planets. Well, when it came to finding out about the birth of our Saviour, it was pretty much right on the money. Look at Mary’s reaction in Luke 1 – Her reaction is to sing a love song to God about this precious baby she is about to have. Joseph’s reaction is a bit more understandable. Okay, he says, the woman I’m supposed to marry has just gotten pregnant. What do I do? That’s a man talking. And, frankly, it’s a reaction I can understand a heck of a lot better than I can Mary’s reaction!
That’s why I’m confused by vs. 24 here. It says, Joseph had this dream. But ultimately, he knew it was from God. Now here’s the part that I find so amazing – he got up and did what he was commanded. Put yourself, if you would, in Joseph’s shoes for a minute. I want you to forget that you know who this kid is going to be. Realize the amount of faith that Joseph had to have here.
I. Joseph was called to believe the unbelievable
II. Joseph was called to associate with the disreputable
III. Joseph was called to give up his rightful due, with nothing concrete in return.
In many ways, this is the same call God gives when he calls to accept his Son. But you and I who have been saved by his grace know, that while it makes no earthly sense, it is ultimately the most divine logical thing we can ever believe. That’s why understanding Joseph here is so important – he is called to accept the very same Gospel that we all face, and so I want to look at that this morning.
I. Joseph’s Dilemma
a. Joseph was called to believe the unbelievable
i. Our conditioning:
1. Chaste Women don’t get pregnant. Reasonable to assume that Mary was just foolin’ around.
2. Miracles don’t happen – or do they?
3. Anything “too good to be true” probably isn’t.
ii. Why does a miracle have to happen to me? – Thank God it does!
b. Joseph was called to associate with the disreputable
i. Look at Jesus’ crowd:
1. Jesus associated with prostitutes, tax collectors, and other sinners
2. Jesus was announced by a crazy man (John the Baptist)
3. His disciples were uneducated fisherman who Constantly kept their feet in their mouths!
ii. We as Christians are often ashamed of who we identify with
iii. Face it – we’re afraid he’ll send us halfway around the world, etc… Been there done that – It’s ok!
iv. After all, Jesus didn’t come to heal those who are well!
c. Joseph was called to give up his rightful due, with nothing concrete in return.
i. It was his “right”
1. to humiliate this woman who had “humiliated” him!
2. to have some time with his wife before they had kids. (THIS IS EVERY MAN’S FEAR!!!)
3. Frankly, it was his right to have been able to have relations with her.
II. So, why is it that Joseph, when every human sign would tell him to put Mary away chose to believe a Dream sent from God? Because, he understood the nature of God-
a. God refuses to be constrained by our beliefs
b. God associates with those who need him most
c. God is less concerned with rights than love.
d. That’s what we are called to do: Give up our rights
Let me tell you what really is totally unreasonable. Let me tell you something that really is unbelievable. It’s this – that God would associate with us!
I’ll never forget the day in Hebrew class when we learned about tying prepositions with persons. We’re going through the chart – immani, (With Me) immana (With You), immanah (With him), And then, immanu! (With us.) I stopped and I said it out loud. I know the sentence – Immanu El. With Us, God. Every now and then God uses the simplest things to remind us that he is with us. Its never the expected thing; Its never the expected person - but God chooses to be with us!
(The Story of the girl who sees the homeless man & gives him a scarf.)
God has every right to turn his back on us. In the old Testament, there’s a book called Hosea. Hosea was actually called to marry a prostitute to serve as a sign of the incongruous nature of God & Israel. But the truth is, God gave up his rights because he loves us. And if you don’t believe me, let me close by telling you the real Christmas story. Paul writes it when he says:
Conclusion: Philippians 2:5-12
That’s the miracle we celebrate at Christmas. That’s a story worth believing.