Summary: Christ came as a frail baby and defeated Satan.
Sermon ~ “The Little Warrior is Coming!”
As the night chilled the air and the moonlight, perhaps, sifted between the clouds to spotlight here and there over the landscape, Joseph lie sleeping... And an angel came to him to announce a big thing coming in a small way. Reading from Matthew’s gospel:
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."
Joseph lay sleeping, but what had his day been like before he took his night’s rest. We don’t know, but we can make some suppositions. We can guess at what a day–a most unsettling day–might have been like for Joseph. It may have been like this...
Joseph stood by his woodworking table that was standing to the side of the house under a thatched canopy that offered some relief from the relentless sun. Sweat beaded over his brow as he worked a piece of wood into a yoke to be sold to a local farmer.
“Ouch!” A sliver jammed into Joseph’s hand, right at the base of his thumb. He was not paying attention... once again he was thinking about Mary, his fiancee. She was going to have a baby, and it wasn’t his. She had told him stories about angels, and that the child within her was a special child. A child from God.
Although Mary had always demonstrated strong character and had always maintained her virtue with him and from what he could tell, was a moral and honest women, the
story she wove around this pregnancy stretched his confidence to the extreme.
He would need to deal with this quietly. He, a virtuous man, could not marry her, but he
did not want the situation to come to the attention of the religious authorities. That could literally mean Mary’s death.
How could she have allowed this to happen! And the story that she told; that an angel had said that this child would be a boy... to be named Jesus... that He was destined to be great, called the Son of God, and to be given the throne of his ancestor King David.
This was just too much! Who could believe this, even if it came from a woman as solid as Mary?
Still, just the other day he was talking with some other men of Nazareth and the topic was once again about the Messiah who they, and most Israelites, felt was going to return soon. Could Mary be carrying the Messiah?
But the Messiah would come as a mighty warrior king, not through a common women of Nazareth! No, not his Mary, perhaps from the family of Caiaphas would come the Messiah, but not from common people. Mary should have thought of another story. And yet, it was just like Mary to tell the truth, even if she would not be believed.
Well, so much for our suppositions. We know that Joseph doubted Mary’s account of her becoming pregnant, and we know that it took an angel to come to him in a dream and set things straight.
So Joseph takes Mary as his wife. The day comes when he and all of Nazareth are informed that they must return to their place of birth to register for a Roman census. “Cursed Romans,” Joseph must have muttered to himself, “forcing me to take out my wife and her special child on a long journey at the end of her pregnancy!”
There is no indication that Joseph ever connected the prophecy from the prophet Micah:
2 "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
though you are small among the clans of
out of you will come for me
one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old,
from ancient times."
And there is a word from the Lord to us in this: When we go through difficult times, like Joseph being forced to travel with Mary at the critical point of her pregnancy, we can trust God to be working out His will-- a sovereign purpose stretching back beyond our
birth... from everlasting to everlasting.
We need not say, “God if you loved me, how can you allow this to happen!” Just think of Joseph. What if he had muttered along the way, “God, how can you allow this to be happening to my Mary and this special child? Maybe the angel in my dream was not real, but really just that-- a dream? How could You allow this to happen if this child, to be named Jesus, is to be really special?”