Summary: When you are under duress and your heart is broken, Joseph proves it is possible to trust God and act wisely in those circumstances.
The Divorce That Never Happened
Christmas “Thwarted Plans” Series
1. The Christmas season is upon us, so why not start the sermon with a few Christmas jokes?
2. A lady was picking through the frozen turkeys at the grocery store, but couldn't find one big enough for her family for Christmas dinner. She asked a stock boy, "Do these turkeys get any bigger?"
The stock boy replied, "No ma'am, they're dead."
3. It was Christmas and the judge was in a merry mood as he asked the prisoner, "What are you charged with?"
"Doing my Christmas shopping early", replied the defendant.
"That's no offense", said the judge. "How early were you doing this shopping?"
"Before the store opened." [source: coolest-holiday-parties.com]
4. But Christmas isn’t always jovial. Some of you are experiencing your first Christmas without a loved one who was always there. Others of you have experienced loss of health, loss of friends, or stages in life tough to take.
5. For many people, Christmas can be depressing, stressful, or a heart break.
6. The events surrounding the first Christmas was traumatic for poor Joseph. A few centuries after Jesus, Christian artists borrowed the halo from the pagans (aura). The presence of a halo communicated much that is wrong — such as the idea that people like Joseph and Mary were something other than human.
7. Joseph was forced into a situation against his own will. His betrothed was pregnant. And he was not the Father.
Main Idea: When you are under duress and your heart is broken, Joseph proves it is possible to trust God and act wisely in those circumstances.
I. Joseph Sought to Handle A Bad Situation As KINDLY As He Could (18-19).
A. Good people still sin and can BREAK our hearts.
B. He probably felt he KNEW Mary, then concluded he did not.
C. Rather than BROADCAST what he felt was Mary’s betrayal, he was discrete.
The temptation to do things for spite last week. Proverbs 24:29, "Do not say, 'I will do to him as he has done to me; I will pay the man back for what he has done.'”
D. Part of being godly is RESPONDING properly when we feel betrayed or let down.
• I have had many experiences in life, beginning in childhood, when I have felt betrayed or severely disappointed with others.
• You have, too. It is a normal part of life. Girlfriends dump you, parents let you down, friends turn on you. Some are more traumatic than others.
• Suicides, murders, clinical depression, escaping to drugs/alcohol, slander — these are just some responses.
• Sometimes Christians are no better than the lost. But only sometimes.
E. A quiet DIVORCE was the best option.
F. The measure of our spiritual maturity is seen in conflict and TESTING.
II. Joseph Was Pensive and Open To God’s REVELATION (20-23).
A. When we are HUMBLED by disappointment, we tend to be more OPEN to God.
The BBC recently ran an article on Portugal, “The Country that Loves Being Sad.”
“Portugal’s “joyful sadness” is encapsulated in a single word: saudade. No other language has a word quite like it. It is untranslatable, every Portuguese person assured me, before proceeding to translate it.
Saudade is a longing, an ache for a person or place or experience that once brought great pleasure. It is akin to nostalgia but, unlike nostalgia, one can feel saudade for something that’s never happened, and likely never will.
At the heart of saudade lies a yawning sense of absence, of loss. Saudade, writes scholar Aubrey Bell in his book In Portugal, is “a vague and constant desire for something... other than the present.”
B. A DREAM is somewhat subjective, as vivid as it may have been.
1. If we seek God’s will and sense we have His direction, we do not have the same certainty as did the patriarchs, to whom God spoke directly.
2. We feel lead of the Spirit, but sometimes it is our emotion or desires in disguise.
C. But a dream backed by SCRIPTURE is convincing.
D. He is to bear the Messiah Who will save (Yeshuah) His people from their SINS.
III. Joseph Bravely ROSE to the Occasion (24-25).
A. Embarking upon a SCANDALOUS marriage.
1. Joseph and Mary dreamed of their wedding feast, a 7 day celebration with family and friends — much more dramatic than modern weddings. Never happened.
2. Although he knew Mary conceived miraculously, what did they tell the family? What did people think?
B. Delay of marital RIGHTS until after the child’s birth.
• Joseph and Mary had four sons and at least two daughters later on
• Matthew 13:54-56, …and coming to his hometown he taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished, and said, “Where did this man get this wisdom and these mighty works? Is not this the carpenter's son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? And are not all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?”