Summary: Joseph the forgotten figure of Christmas, (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email: email@example.com)
Joseph the forgotten figure of Christmas,
Reading: Matthew chapter 1 verse 18-25.
• 800,000 words in the English language.
• 300,000 are technical terms.
• Average person knows about 10,000 words;
• And on average uses about 5,000 words.
Words of course play an important part in the Christmas story:
• The cast of characters associated with the story of Jesus’ birth;
• Are often recognisable by their unique speaking parts.
• They all seem to have memorable and dramatic lines.
(eg1). The Angels take centre stage,
• It is the angels that announce the birth of the Jesus.
• It is an angel that appear to Joseph to tell him that what to name the child.
• It is the angels who announce to shepherds saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest’.
• And it is the arch angel Gabriel who makes an unforgettable announcement to Mary.
"The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.
So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.”
(eg2). The Virgin Mary has a lot to say:
• Mary responds to the news that she is the chosen one to bear the child;
• By offering to God a beautiful hymn of thanksgiving and praise!
• Her song is called the ‘The Magnificant’;
• And if you forgive the play on words, it really is a magnificent song of praise!
• Quote: ‘The Magnificat’ has been described as:
• “The last Old Testament psalm,and the first New Testament hymn”
(eg3). The wise men.
• Speak familiar and well-known words (in Matthew chapter 2 verse 2);
• In their search to find the newborn king, they ask a pertinent question:
"Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him."
(eg4). The shepherds
• These shepherds became the very first evangelists!
• Luke chapter 2 verse 17 tells us:
“When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed…”
• What a great illustration of evangelism.
• Evangelism is not salesmanship ;
• It is not urging people, pressing them, coercing them,
• Overwhelming them, or subduing them.
• Evangelism is telling a message.
• Evangelism is reporting good news.
Quote: Paul Little in his book "How to Give Away Your Faith" defines witnessing:
"Witnessing is that deep-seated conviction that the greatest favour I can do for others is to introduce them to Jesus Christ."
So everyone in the nativity story seems to have a speaking part:
• Everyone that is ….
• Except for one!
• Oddly enough, only Joseph is the only one with no speaking part.
• He is the lone silent member of the cast and so often the forgotten one.
• Angels bring heavenly greetings.
• Mary sings a praiseful solo.
• Wise men worship.
• Shepherds preach.
• Joseph…. well he is silent!
• No notable lines are attributed to him. No sound bites. No quotes, only silence.
• While Joseph is the forgotten figure of Christmas,
• He is irreplaceable in the story of Jesus’ birth.
• His importance cannot be overstated.
• Because through Joseph,
• God would entrust into his care the responsibility of caring & raising his son.
• In connection with raising up children - Robert Fulghum said:
• “Don’t worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you”
• It wasn’t just Mary that God chose to be a role model for the child, boy & teenager Jesus!
• He also chose Joseph.
• Quote: Charles R. Swindoll, The Strong Family
• “Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children”
3 thoughts on Joseph:
(1). Joseph’s Dilemma (vs 18)
This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about:
His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph,
• A little boy, at a wedding looks at his mom and says,
• "mommy, why does the girl wear white?"
• His mom replies,
• "the bride is in white because she’s happy and this is the happiest day of her life."
• The boys thinks about this, and then says,
• "well then, why is the boy wearing black..."
• Jewish marriages took place in 3 stages:
• The contractual stage / espousal stage / actual consummation
(a). The contractual stage:
• Young people had little to do with the process as most marriages were pre-arranged.
• This marriage was likely arranged when Joseph and Mary were still small kids!
• A legal contract would be signed with details of the dowry put in writing!