Summary: part 3 of our 2017 Christmas series
The gift of Christmas
“What a strange way to save the world”
Last week in the first of the gift of Christmas series
We took a look at what Mary did not know
And saw how with just a small piece of the plan
She willingly accepted the plan
Rejoiced in the plan
And became highly blessed by the plan
At the community service
Part 2 of our series
The Gift of Christmas
We looked at the significance of “the star”
And how each point
Points us to Jesus
His death and resurrection
And his eternity
I wanted to preach that sermon again this morning
We had such a good turn out
That I did not want some of you to hear it twice
In the third part of the Gift of Christmas
We are going to look at
And then his response
To his part in the plan of salvation
He must have thought as the wonderful Christmas song states
“That this is a really strange way to save the world”
Let me introduce you to a man named Joseph
A simple hard-working carpenter from the town of Nazareth.
In the culture of the day, every Jewish boy and girl was required to memorize their ancestry.
Beginning with Adam and Eve, going on thru Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. On thru David and Solomon and the many great kings of Judah.
They did this because God had made a promise to his people.
Through the Prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 9:6
6 For a child is born to us,
a son is given to us.
The government will rest on his shoulders.
And he will be called:
Wonderful Counselor,[a] Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Every Jewish family dreamed that God would honor them by allowing them to be the parents of this great messiah.
They hoped that they would be permitted to raise the next King of Israel - a king promised to bring deliverance from the chains of bondage.
But…Joseph was just a carpenter.
A good carpenter, but still, just a carpenter.
Neither a prophet nor a priest
Neither prince or king
And Mary – as sweet girl as she was
Was also of a humble a background.
Just common folk
They had no idea that they would be the parents of the Messiah
In order to understand the ins and outs of Josephs story
We must understand a bit about their culture
Marriages of that day were arranged
For more than a year before a man and woman physically became husband and wife
Their families became as one.
They were intertwined.
They would spend their days together.
Really get to know each other
Her parents would get to know him
His parents would get to know her.
It was a good arrangement.
It became the strength of good families.
It was foundation of good marriages.
And Mary came from good stock.
She was a gentle girl - easy on the eyes.
Joseph was the envy of all the men of Nazareth
Then one day the wheels seemed to fall off his plans
Joseph had planned to get married
Planned to work hard
Raise a family
Joseph planned to live a life of service to God
Hoped to live a life of integrity
To be respected in the community
Then it happened
Mary was pregnant
And Joseph was not the father.
Her family was understandably upset.
His family was devastated
Joseph was shocked
I can’t even begin to describe all that he must have felt
To make things worse
That she had not been with another man
That she was pregnant with God’s baby
Joseph was having a really bad day
In that day
In that time in that culture
Unplanned pregnancy was unacceptable
If the child was not his, and he knew it was not
Mary would be viewed as a harlet or worse
If he claimed the child
He would lose all respect and integrity
Because it would appear that he had broken all the rules about marriage and engagement
If he accepted her word
And they told people
They would likely be rejected
Or even convicted of Blasphemy
He was in a tight spot
His parents would never accept her.
The people of Nazareth would never forget.
If I he took Mary as his wife,
They would have to pack up my tools and move far enough away so that her shame would not follow them
So, Joseph as a man knew he must put an end to this whole marriage plan
He knew he must derail his plans
He felt betrayed