Summary: “Then Joseph, her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly” Matt. 1:19 .
Theme: Joseph, human and God in action
Text: Isaiah 7:10-16; Rom. 1:1-7; Matt. 1:18-25
Today is the fourth Sunday of Advent and next Sunday is Christmas. Although we are all looking forward to the celebrations we need to spend time meditating on the birth of Christ. Before His birth God chose and prepared a family to take care of the child through His formative years. The home has always played a major role in the upbringing of children. It is to be a place of intimacy, unity, love, and understanding. The home is to be a place where children would grow up to know their heavenly Father and thereby their own identity and value as children of God. It is to be the place to learn total trust in the Lord and obedience to His commands. It is to be the place of absolute safety and security. God chose such a home for His Son Jesus Christ. He chose Joseph to be Jesus’ earthly father who would provide Him a fitting home.
God chose Joseph because he was a just man. He was devastated when Mary told him she was expecting a child. Joseph knew that the child was not his. However, he was prepared to do what was right, despite the pain he knew it would cause. Joseph was not only a just man but also merciful. He not only tried to do the right thing, he also tried to do it in the right way. He decided to break the engagement but in a way that would not hurt Mary and expose her to public shame and ridicule. His intention was to act with justice and love. Joseph weighed his options. One was to divorce Mary quietly, the other would be to have her stoned. God, however, had a third and better option - to marry her. He sent a messenger to Joseph to confirm Mary’s story and to go ahead and marry her. Joseph obeyed God and married Mary.
Joseph was chosen to live his role as Jesus’ earthly father. He did this in very difficult circumstances. Consenting to marry Mary would cast doubt on his own innocence regarding the pregnancy and leave them with a social stigma they would have to bear. In spite of this, Joseph served as a role model for God’s Son. Children learn a lot from the home and the ones who make the most impact on children are their parents. They learn from what they see their parents do more than from what they say. There is a story of a young couple returning home from work one afternoon. They met a friend in their neighbourhood and invited him in. They opened their front door only to hear their nine-year-old son and seven-year-old daughter yelling at each other at the top of their voices. Alarmed they all rushed in to find out what was going on. “What on earth is going on here?” the parents asked. Their son looked at them with a surprised expression on his face for a moment, then smiled and replied, “Oh, there is nothing wrong. We were just playing daddy and mummy.” Children are very good learners and the people who influence them most are their parents. Is it any wonder that they grow up becoming like their parents? Let us follow Joseph’s example by allowing God to direct our lives.
When we yield to God He will give us revelations to understand spiritual truths. There are however spiritual truths that can not be understood and can only be received by faith. God revealed the supernatural conception of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and Joseph accepted it by faith. If we accept the supernatural conception of Jesus Christ by faith we will have no problems accepting the Virgin birth. Today with advances in medicine test tube babies are being born to virgins but there is nothing that can even come near to a supernatural Conception. This makes Jesus Christ clearly the Messiah, God’s beloved Son. Jesus means ‘the Lord saves’. Jesus came to earth to save us because we cannot save ourselves from sin and its consequences. No matter how good we are we cannot eliminate the sinful nature present in all of us. Jesus came to fulfil the prophecy of Isaiah that He is Emmanuel, God with us.
The only one who can save us is Jesus. He did not come into the world to help people save themselves; He came to be their Saviour from the power and penalty of sin. When Adam sinned the whole human race was contaminated and since all have sinned no descendant of Adam could pay the penalty for sin. Jesus was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and was therefore without a sin nature. He was the only One who qualified to pay the price for sin. He was not only born without the sin nature, He also lived without sinning. “He was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin’. (Heb. 4:15) . Jesus Christ, the sinless Son of God, became sin with our sinfulness that we might become righteous with His righteousness. We cannot even begin to imagine a sinless person bearing the sin of the whole world, past, present and future. We cannot even begin to imagine the enormity of the price Christ paid for our sin. Jesus Christ came as God in the flesh to live among us and pay the penalty for sin. Today Christ is still present in the life of every believer through the Holy Spirit. Have you received the Holy Spirit? He will come to live within you when you confess Christ as Saviour and Lord and invite Him into your life.