Summary: Hear the message of the angels again, as if for the first time: Jesus is Savior – Trust Him; Jesus is Sovereign – Obey Him; and Jesus is Supreme – Worship Him with everything you’ve got.
A young family was moving into a new house, and even though the move had been scheduled weeks in advance, on moving day, the husband announced that had an important meeting at work. He was unable to help. That left the wife to handle the move all by herself, which she did.
After the moving van pulled away, the wife found herself standing in the living room of their new house surrounded by boxes to be unpacked, appliances to be hooked up, a screaming baby, and a five-year-old who had decided to throw one of his metal toys through the picture window. Fortunately, nobody was hurt, but the jagged glass was scattered everywhere, and a cold, brisk wind was blowing through the opening.
The wife was at the end of her rope. She needed to talk to her husband, but when she called his office, a secretary informed her that he was tied up in a meeting and could not be disturbed. The secretary asked, “Would you like to leave a message?”
This perturbed the wife even more, because she knew from past experience that her husband was extremely lax about returning calls home. But she figured out a way to get his attention. She told the secretary, “Just tell him the insurance will cover it. Call home for details.”
Guess what? The moment he got the message, he called home. (James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited, pp. 35-36; BI# 3603-3605; 7/1996.94)
That lady got her husband’s attention, didn’t she? She communicated in a such way that her husband really heard.
Do you know, God wants to get our attention too. That’s why, 2,000 years ago, at that first Christmas, He sent his angels with a startling message for every human being. The problem is we’ve heard it so often, we’ve become jaded, just like that husband, and we don’t really hear it anymore.
So this evening, I want you to pretend you’ve never heard it before. Put yourselves in the sandals of some of the poor people in the 1st century, suffering under Roman oppression, trying to eke out a living, and listen to the message of the angels like you’re hearing it for the first time.
First, put yourself in Joseph’s sandals. He was engaged to a lovely, dark-haired, brown-eyed girl. He was looking forward to their wedding, when all of the sudden, she got pregnant. He knew he didn’t do it, because they were never intimate with each other. How could she do this to him?
According to the custom of the day, the engagement period was a time to prove the purity of the bride to be. They were engaged for a year, and if, during that year, the woman didn’t become pregnant, then she proved herself to be worthy bride – pure and chaste for her husband. But if she did become pregnant, she proved herself to be immoral in the eyes of society. Sometimes they stoned such women, but always they made her the object of ridicule and shame.
To say the least, Joseph was devastated. His fiancée was pregnant, for all he knew, by another man. It was the end of their relationship.
I remember when I was looking forward to marrying Sandy. I didn’t want anything to stop that – not even the 2nd coming of our Lord, Jesus Christ. I even prayed, “Lord, please delay your coming until after we’re married. I can’t imagine the hurt I would have felt if Sandy got pregnant during that time by somebody else.
That’s where Joseph was. Then an angel came with a message from God. Listen to that message, and hear it, as it were, for the first time. It’s found in Matthew 1.
Matthew 1:18-20 Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. (ESV)
Mary has not been intimate with another man! The baby she is carrying was conceived by the Holy Spirit. I can see Joseph’s jaw drop, first in disbelief, then in sheer delight! Mary, his Mary, was still his Mary. The angel continues…
Matthew 1:21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus [or Yeshua, which means the Lord saves], for he will save his people from their sins.” (ESV)
Can you believe it? Joseph’s devastation has turned into a dream come true. It’s a dream far beyond anything Joseph could have imagined. It’s the dream of the centuries, long foretold by the prophets.