Summary: Matthew shares with us the miracle story of Joseph - a young man who 1. Possessed a Spirit of Compassion 2. Possessed a Spirit of Openness 3. Cultivated a life of Obedience
Theme: 4th Advent - Joseph
Matthew shares with us the story of Joseph - a young man who 1. Possessed a Spirit of Compassion 2. Possessed a Spirit of Openness 3. Cultivated a life of Obedience
Grace and peace from God our Father and from Jesus Christ His Son who came to take away the sin of the world!
Remember the last time you or someone you deeply cared about was waiting for the birth of their unborn baby? Remember all the joy and anticipation as you waited week after week after week? Then somewhere around 36 - 40 weeks that little precious child was born. That little person you had waited so long to see, to hold and to be with was right there in front you ready to be held, cuddled and loved.
We all know that there is something special about a baby coming into our world. There is something very holy and sacred about each time the LORD graces our world with the birth of a new little human being. There is a holiness that surrounds each and every birth. There is something that happens that is akin to LORD speaking the worlds into existence.
This fact was especially true as we read about the stories of faith in the Old Testament. Many of the stories that we read about in the book of Genesis had to do with families waiting for the birth of their "promise child". The great mothers of the Old Testament like Sarah, Rebekah and Rachel all experienced some difficulty in bringing a child into the world. Each woman prayed and waited and then waited some more. In the Rachel's case it was even more vexing as her sister Leah was blessed with child after child.
Rachel began to blame everyone and everything for her barrenness. She blamed God, then she blamed Jacob and finally she blamed herself. Her life was so miserable that she wanted to die. Then one day the Bible tells us that the LORD remembered Rachel and allowed her to bear a child. Her days of being barren were over. Rachel was ecstatic as now she would have a promised child of her own.
When her son was born, Rachel gave him a rather unusual name. She did not name him after Jacob, Isaac or even Abraham. She named him Joseph, a name that contains both a praise and plea. Rachel praised the LORD for the birth of her eldest son but she also prayed for more children. The name Joseph means - "Lord, give me one more just like this one."
Rachel looked down on her son and praised the Lord for this little boy. She was so happy that she immediately began to ask the LORD for one more just like him. Now, that is some high praise. Usually, women do not immediately want another baby. More often than not they say that they need some time. They need some time to adjust and to get back into shape. They need some time to rest and get their lives back together. But not Rachel. She is ready to bear another child.
As we read Joseph's stories in the Old Testament we read that he became a very special Spirit filled and anointed man. A man who was known for more than having a coat of many colors and being sold into slavery by his brothers. We read about a man who lived a very holy and sacred life. We read about a man whom the LORD GOD ALMIGHTY used to save His people and all the people in and around Egypt.
However, Mother Rachel wasn't the only mother to name her child Joseph. The Bible shares with us in our Gospel passage this morning that there was another mother who looked down upon her son and called him Joseph. Perhaps, she too was so amazed at having a son that she was both praising and petitioning God for more children. Perhaps, it was her hope that her Joseph would become as great as the Joseph that we find in the stories of Genesis.
This morning, let's take a few moments and look at the life of this Joseph we find in our Gospel Story. For the more you read and meditate on Joseph's story the more you fall in love with Him and the way he learned to walk with the LORD. The more you read his story the more you are challenged to live with what we could call this morning - A Joseph attitude and spirit.
I. Joseph possessed a SPIRIT OF COMPASSION AND SENSITIVITY
How old was Joseph when he and Mary were betrothed? That question has been the point of contention for hundreds of years. Some Bible scholars have conjectured that Joseph could have been as young as twenty while others say that Joseph could have been as old as ninety. Now, that's a wide range. Some have also said that Joseph was unmarried while others say that Joseph was a widower already with a family. The truth is no one knows for sure. But from all the reliable evidence we can garner I believe this morning we can safely surmise that Joseph had never been married and was somewhere between the ages of 20 - 25 years of age.