Summary: Joseph is held up as an example of the type of person we are encouraged to be by stepping beyond self and thinking of the welfare of others.
Matthew 1: 18 – 25 Joseph, Do What You’re Told
Intro: What manger scene or Christmas pageant would be complete without Joseph, “father of Jesus.” Fathers all say and do pretty much the same things. Here is my list of the top 5 things father’s say. “Ask your mother.” “Do I look like I’m made of money?” “We’re not lost!” “No, we’re not there yet.” “Don’t make me stop this car!” Unlike most fathers, Joseph doesn’t say a single word in the gospels though he plays a major supporting role in the nativity story.
I. VSS. 18 – 19a “. . . Joseph, her husband was a righteous man.” (dikaios – righteous = to live by the law, God’s revealed will.)
A. Joseph is a man who actually acts contrary to what the followers of the “LAW” had as their expectations.
B. What does the “LAW” say? Joseph had 2 alternatives under the law: 1) bring charges against Mary as an adultress or 2) give her a divorce decree before 2 witnesses.
C. Actually, the whole situation sounds like an episode of the Jerry Springer Show.
II. VSS. 20 – 23 – lay out the incredible story that Joseph was asked to believe. (If Mary were my daughter, I would be asking for the spirit’s name and address.)
A. Joseph is asked to believe Mary was still a virgin and that the baby was conceived by the Holy Spirit.
B. Is there any good way to hear from your fiancée that she is pregnant and it isn’t your baby?
C. For Joseph, accepting the story meant ridicule. Why?
1) They had sinned by having sex
2) Mary had been unfaithful and he was a fool.
III. VSS. 24 – 25 – Joseph was willing to obey God. He didn’t let his mouth get ahead of his heart.
A. Joseph was surely angry and hurt; but he obeyed God. He followed the instructions given to him in a dream.
B. He went on to marry Mary, accepted Jesus as his own child obeying God’s instructions.
C. I admire Joseph. He did something I don’t think I would have been able to do. Joseph never argued with God. He did what he was told and kept his mouth shut.
Conclu: When our lives take a nasty turn, we probably cry out as Joseph surely did, “God, how can this be? Why me?” But, if we quietly listen as Joseph did, we just might hear a still small voice saying, “Trust me!”