Summary: I want to look at Christmas from the perspective of Jesus’ father, Joseph – not his real father but His borrowed father – His earthly father. Five things we can appreciate and apply to our lives as we look at Joseph.
Title: Jesus’ Dad
Last week we talked about Mary. This week I want to look at Christmas from the perspective of Jesus’ father, Joseph – not his real father but His borrowed father – His earthly father. And His own hometown folks didn’t understand this son of Joseph.
You know, the Lord did a lot of borrowing when He was on this earth, including borrowing some things at His birth. They borrowed a barn and it’s manger in order to let Jesus be born into this world. He borrowed a little boy’s lunch to feed 5,000 men. He borrowed a donkey in order to come into Jerusalem for the last time. Jesus borrowed a lot of things that brought glory to His Name – even at His death He used a borrowed tomb.
The Bible doesn’t have a whole lot to say about Jesus’ borrowed earthly father, but what it does say is pretty interesting and pretty relevant for each of us.
Let’s look at the Christmas event through the eyes of Joseph. Let’s get a little background so that we know a little bit about the predicament that Joseph was facing.
He was betrothed or espoused to Mary. Now, there were three stages that led to a Jewish marriage in those days.
First, there was the engagement stage, which was not between the two who were going to get married, but between the parents of the children.
Basically what would happen is that if a mom and dad had a son, and in their community someone had a daughter about their sons age, the parents would get together with the parents of the daughter and begin to talk about marriage for their children. And if they had a good relationship with each other, and if they felt their children had similar backgrounds, they would make a contract for marriage. The Jews felt that young people did not possess the wisdom to make that kind of a decision, so the parents made the decision for them. Sounds good to me!
Then, the second stage was called the betrothal or espousal stage. This is where Joseph and Mary are. It was a time of building a relationship, of coming to know one another. It was a time of planning & dreaming & happy expectations. This is a one-year period in which the couple was like our engagement period today – yet there’s was more binding in those days. Sounds good to me! It was a contract, signed by the parents, but they weren’t to live together during that year. It was a binding contract that required divorce as the only way to break the contract.
Now let me say this to the young people here – I won’t charge you for this. If someone is pressuring you, saying, "If you really love me, prove it by giving yourself to me," then you say, "If you really love me, you’ll wait, because I’m going to save myself for the one I marry. If you’re not willing to wait, then you’re not the one." If they’re willing to sin w/ me, they may be willing to sin against me! Marriages built upon lust are insecure, because if you can lust after one person, you can lust after another. But marriages built upon love exhibit trust & commitment & faithfulness.
Paul Harvey tells about a airline stewardess who was being harassed by a slightly inebriated man up in the first class section who was making passes at her & trying to get her to agree to meet him in his hotel suite that night. With some difficulty she got away from him, only to encounter another man at the rear of the plane acting the same way, trying to find out where she was staying, & making suggestive proposals to her about that night.
At last, the pilot announced that they were making their final approach for landing. Once again the guy in front offered her a key to his hotel suite & begged her to meet him there. To his obvious delight, she smiled at him & accepted his key, placing it securely in the pocket of her apron. Then she worked her way back towards the rear of the plane. When she got there she took the key out of her pocket & with a big smile handed it to the other guy & said, "Now don’t be late."
There are all kinds of ways to say "No," aren’t there? And you need to learn how to say "No."
The Bible tells us that Mary & Joseph saved themselves for one another until they were married.
Then, the third stage was the marriage itself, about 1 year from the time of the betrothal, when the groom would come to the bride’s home and take her back to his home to consummate the marriage.