Summary: Christmas message focusing on the obedience of Joseph and Mary in circumstances less than ideal in our information age.

Obeying – Even If It Doesn’t Seem to Make Sense

The Lesson of Joseph and Mary

Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 1:26-38

December 12, 2010


Audio of this sermon can be heard at

Me: I’ve been a Christian for going on 30 years now, and one of the more surprising things I’ve learned over that time is it’s still hard for me to obey God sometimes.

I’ll come across an opportunity to obey Jesus in some situation, and I still fight with myself, because usually it’s a situation that’s going to cost me something – maybe it’s time, it’s convenience, or maybe it’s going to cost me actual money – something I don’ t have in abundance compared to a lot of people.

And I’m like, “Really? Do I have to do this? It would make way more sense to not do this or for You to have someone else do it, right?”

I remember when I started tithing back in the 1990’s. On paper, it made no sense whatsoever. I had bills to pay. I had bill collectors calling. I had a family to feed.

But even though it made no sense at the time, we did it anyway, out of obedience to God. And He’s taken care of us quite nicely, thank you. But at the time, it made no sense.

We: If you’ve been in a relationship with Jesus for any length of time, you know what I’m talking about.

Sometimes God asks us to do something in the Bible and it doesn’t seem make sense, given the circumstances we find ourselves in.

Or we find ourselves convicted by the Holy Spirit about something and on a fleshly, human level, it makes more sense to not obey.

Or you might be sitting here today and living for Jesus isn’t even on your radar, specifically because it doesn’t make sense to you to become a Christian who loves and lives for Jesus.

And you see some of the commands of Scripture and you’re like, “Forget that, man. Not happening.”

Why? Because to you, it makes no sense to follow God and the Scriptures.

God: I want to share with you the experience of Joseph and Mary, and what they did with God’s telling them to do stuff that you and I would think would be totally nuts – but they did it anyway.

Matthew 1:18-25 (p. 681) –

18 This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins."

22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel"--which means, "God with us."

24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.

Luke 1:30-38 (p. 723) –

30 But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. 31 You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end."

34 "How will this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?"

35 The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon 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. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. 37 For nothing is impossible with God."

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