Summary: This is part one of a 4 part advent series. These are stand alone sermons that are tied in to the 4 weeks of advent. This second message is a first person narrative message considering the angels message to Joseph.
One of the greatest jobs in scripture for angels is as heralds of God to man- bringing news and help from on high. Angels were the messengers- the Heralds of Messiahs coming
The Angel Gabriel brought the message to Mary - telling her “you will conceive in your womb, and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High;”
Angels brought the message to the Shepherds in the field- Good news, of a great joy, which shall be to all people.
An Angel also brought news to a distraught young man named Joseph – a man whose life seemed out of control.
Wow, I’m not used to speaking in front of so many people. My name is Joseph. Your pastor asked me here this morning to share my story with you. It’s a story of confusion, and love, angels and the Messiah, but I’m getting ahead of myself. My father Jacob always told me always told me to tell a story right you have to begin in the beginning.
As a young man I worked with my father Jacob. I learned the family business and became a carpenter. We were a family of Jews living in what had become a gentile land. Nazareth was my hometown- its located in lower Galilee almost half way between the Sea of Galilee and the Mediterranean. Nazareth was a small town we only had one spring of fresh water for the whole village. During the years of my childhood Gentile temples to pagan gods were built around Nazareth and the whole town was overrun. Every day the world around us became darker and darker as my hometown became a den of iniquity. Things would get so bad in fact that later men would ask the question - Can anything good come out of Nazareth.
All the while my father and I toiled away in the business and tried our best to remain faithful to the God of our fathers.
One day my eyes fell on a young girl as she carried water from the well. Her name was Mary. I knew her family. They had a bright reputation as a righteous and God fearing family in our dark town. Her father came to synagogue and we knew them well. Something about her that day caught my eye as never before. Maybe I was finally growing up. After a time I asked her father for her hand in marriage. The engagement was done and we were set to be married a year later. To understand what happened next you have to understand our customs. Engagement was very different for us. Lasting one year essentially as far as the law was concerned we were already married. To break this betrothal would require a writ of divorce.
At this time I thought my life was just about perfect. Mary and I talked about our future together. A home, a family, all the things young couples dream of. Everything was perfect until that night when Mary told me she was with child. “How can this be? I demanded. She told me a story about an angel, and the Holy Spirit- but I could not see past my own pain and betrayal to the truth of her words. I left her house a ruined man. My hopes my dreams all shattered. What of my reputation- would people think me the father? What would the people say? If I told them I was not the father - Mary would be taken to the city gate and stoned as an adulteress. What should I do. I walked the town almost all night. What should I do? I made up my mind to put her away quietly and save her the shame. She could leave Nazareth and go somewhere else to save her shame.
I remember that night as if it were yesterday. It was a clear cool night in Nazareth. I cried as I lay in my bed that night- my heart broken for all the dreams that were shattered. My life that had seemed so wonderful now seemed so out of control. All my dreams lay in ruins at my feet. Or so it seemed to me. I got on my knees and cried out to God - why has this happened to me- what am I to do?
I fell asleep crying that night. As I slept I dreamed and it seemed to me that the whole world lit up. I sat up from my bed blinking in the brightness to find a man standing near to my bedside. He was dressed all in dazzling attire immediately I knew him in my heart to be the messenger of God an answer to my prayer. I fell to the floor at his feet and bowed my head.