Summary: Change comes into our lives. Sometimes we seek it, but more often than not, we react to it.

Ever heard of the Choluteca Bridge? The Choluteca Bridge is in Honduras. When it was built, it was an architectural marvel. It was designed by some of Japan’s top engineers. The design was important because the area was known for its hurricanes and massive rain storms. The bridge was massive! It was built to last forever, well nearly forever.

In 1998 devastation hit Honduras. A hurricane unlike any that had been seen for years. It was Hurricane Mitch. Mitch dumped 75 inches of rain in under four days! It destroyed homes, businesses, landscapes, bridges and many lives were lost. But the Choluteca Bridge stood the test. It was intact and in perfect condition! But there was a problem. No the bridge wasn’t the problem. It was as strong as ever! The problem was – the river moved.

A wider look at a photo shows that the bridge, while perfectly standing, no longer served any purpose. The river moved so far that the bridge was now on dry ground. In addition, the road that led to and from the bridge got washed away too. Truly amazing! Yet, truly ineffective!

Today’s sermon is about a man who seemed to have a Holy Spirit hurricane come and take away his purpose. Pray with me and we’ll see what the Lord was up to then, and how it applies to you and me today.

Blessed Lord, You have caused all Holy Scriptures to be written for our learning. Grant that we may so hear them, read, mark, learn, and take them to heart that, by the patience and comfort of Your holy Word, we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life. … through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Matthew 1:18 ESV

Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit.

You might not remember it, but last year at this time, we heard Mary’s side of this amazing move of God, causing her to become pregnant without the assistance of her husband Joseph, by the power of the Holy Spirit. She receives a visit from the Archangel Gabriel, who tells her that she is going to be the mother of the Messiah; literally, the mother of God.

Luke 1:34–35 ESV

And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God.

For Mary, this is amazing news. She is going to have the blessings of motherhood, with none of the drama beforehand!

The story plays out differently when you look at it from Joseph’s perspective. While God doesn’t tell us much of the backstory, we do know that they were betrothed husband and wife - Joseph had plans. Joseph had pledged his faithful love to this young lady, and, like every godly Jewish man, Joseph was looking forward to having God bless him with children, as it is written:

Psalm 127:3–5 ESV

Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.

Yes, Joseph and Mary had plans, and then, one day, Mary comes and tells Joseph, when she returns from a 6 month visit to her cousin Elisabeth , that God had a better plan.

Now, I believe that Mary tried to explain what was going on. Tell me ladies, wouldn’t you try to explain to your newlywed husband about how the angel came and told you that you were about to become the mother of the Son of God before the two of you had gotten together? And brothers, you would have no trouble accepting what your dear, sweet, wonderful bride told you as you stared at what six months ago was tiny, flat waist?

Matthew 1:19 ESV

And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly.

I am certain that Joseph heard Mary’s story. I am certain that he wanted to take her word for it. I am also certain that Joseph knew how babies came - angels or no angels. Joseph cared for Mary, just enough, however, to not want to make a public spectacle of her - or worse. In those days, adultery wasn’t just something that got your face plastered on TMZ or the Enquirer.

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