Summary: THE ONE THING TO DO: In difficult, hurtful situations follow Joseph’s countercultural example and demonstrate “just” love by knowing God’s word well enough to allow it to teach you to turn your anger into grace.
Series: Christmas 2011, Advent
Message: Joseph’s “Just” Love
Topics: Love, Christmas, Advent, Joseph, Anger, Hurt, Justice, Grace, Bible, Marriage
Date: Dec. 18, 2011
Pastor: David McBeath
(Credid: In this sermon I rework part of a 1st person sermon on Joseph by Hadley Robinson.)
Last week we learned about how to have the Great Joy the Angel told the shepherds about during the 1st Christmas. This week we are going to talk about Joseph’s “Just” Love.
I want to begin my message a little differently this morning. I want you to put yourselves in Joseph’s shoes as we think about the birth of Jesus this Christmas season. To help us do this, I have invited Joseph to share a little about his experience. So without further ado due, here is Joseph:
Hi my name is Joseph. It’s strange but people have told me I look a lot like your pastor Dave! He’s not even Jewish!
Anyway, times in Nazareth were good for me and the reason Nazareth was so good for me is because it was there I met Mary. She was about 15-and-a-half when we were introduced by our parents. She was a wonderful girl and a beautiful woman. Before long we were betrothed. A Betrothal was sort of like your engagement, except that it was much more serious and usually lasted a year or even more.
Our engagement or betrothal was a period in which I came to love Mary even more than I had before. She was a wonderful combination of girl and woman. There were times when she laughed and her eyes danced with joy. (Let me see here: they kind of remind me of this young lady’s eyes. Beautiful, I tell you.) Anyway, it was wonderful to be with her.
Not only was Mary beautiful but she was as solid as the pillars at the temple as well. She was thoughtful. She pondered the Torah (our Bible) and how it applied to life. Not only that, she could really express her faith in song. She was a Magnificent song writer. (I guess that is why your Bible’s label her song about Jesus the Magnificat.) Our engagement was a period in which I dreamed. I dreamed about the house I could build for her, the children we would have, and the life we would build together.
It’s strange, isn’t it, how quickly, almost overnight, dreams can turn to nightmares and your best plans can be shattered. I noticed Mary had become quiet and withdrawn. When I asked her what was wrong, she told me she just couldn’t talk about it.
I had to go up to Capernaum to do some work, and while I was away, I wondered about her silence. I wondered if I had done something to offend her or if her family had been displeased with me. By the time I came back to Nazareth, I was beside myself! And, I told Mary not to shut me out of her life. I asked what was wrong. …But, was completely unprepared for her answer. She looked at me and said, "I’m pregnant." She began to weep.
Pregnant!! Of all the things that had been in my mind, that one had never occurred to me. Pregnant!!!! I had not been with her!!
If not me, who? Uuu! That thought repulsed me. How could it have happened? How could it have happened without my knowing or without her parents knowing? We had love. We had trust. We had plans and dreams. ….Why? I needed to ask questions, but I was afraid to hear the answers.
When she did answer me, it was like a slap in the face. She told me an angel had appeared to her and told her, a 16-year-old girl living in a fifth-rate little village, that she was going to be the mother of Israel’s Messiah. …Then she told me something else. She told me she was still a virgin, that the Spirit of God had come upon her and planted a baby in her womb.
God planted a baby in her womb? Did she think I was stupid? Her answer was an insult! I was furious!!! It was one thing for her to betray our love, but another thing to treat me like a fool by telling me a story that bordered on blasphemy. I could not believe it. I wanted to lash out. I wanted to hurt her as she was hurting me. I cannot begin to tell you how Angry I was!
Wouldn’t you be hurt and angry as well?
Back to me as your pastor, what have people done to hurt you and make you angry? How did you react? How should we react? Please turn to Matthew 1:18-20. And let’s see what the passage says about Joseph and how he dealt with his Anger. Follow along as I read: