(12/22) Have you ever noticed that things donít always go as planned? The things we had hoped, for planned, worked for and expected are suddenly changed. The decisions of the government, or our employer, or someone else, or the economy, an accident, or the weather or so much more can change our lives forever. Our finances, our family, our health,
can take a turn that alters what we thought would be.
Consider the lives of a long couple who were preparing for their wedding. Planning the ceremony, going over the guests lists, picking the menu for the reception, thinking about the home they would establish, the number and names of the children they would have, the future of the construction business and more when God changed their lives forever. In a
moment of time their lives were forever changed. They are of course, Mary and Joseph.
Though we are fairly familiar with their story, have you ever considered what it must have been like to carry the Son of God in the womb, to feed Him at your breast, change His diaper, bathe Him, burp Him, AND what it would be like to be responsible for, provide for and protect and, to teach Him to walk and talk, and observe the law and worship That is
an awesome responsibility that these two were called on to assume.
Last year there was a good movie out about them simply called, The Nativity. This morning I want to just acquaint you with these two and then make and application for us today.
Here are two people chosen special by God for a life altering and history changing assignment. They are an engaged young couple, betrothed actually, considered legally married though they had not consummated the marriage.
Why had God chosen these two? They were not rich, nor were they politically powerful, or socially influential, nor did they have college degrees. There seems to be nothing to distinguish them above another couple of their day.
Both were able to trace their ancestry back to David. That is important since the Messiah must be a descendent of David. Matthew, who deals with the fact that Jesus is the King of the Jews, gives us the genealogy of Joseph tracing it make through Solomon to David. This is important since it would give Jesus the legal right to the throne as a descendent
of David through Solomon in the royal line.
Lukeís gospel gives us another genealogy, and though it mentions Joseph as being the son of Eli, the lists are different tracing the line back to Davidís son Nathan. It is consistent in the Bible and history to list the Son in law as a descendent; therefore, Luke gives us Maryís genealogy and establishes Jesusí legal bloodline to the throne.
We donít know how old Joseph was, nor do we have any record of anything Joseph said. What do we do know is that he was a carpenter. Now a carpenter was more than a woodworker. He was a builder. He did Brick and stone and mortar work as well as wood. It was hard work and though one could raise a family, he certainly would not get rich. I would like to
make just a few observations about Joseph that mostly comes from Matthewís gospel:
A. He was a Just Man (Matt. 1:19) Innocent, fair, with a high regard for God and His law. That little word implies that He loved God and He treated people like he would want to be treated. Ė The Golden Rule.
B. He was a Compassionate Man. Being a Just man he had to do what was right with Mary. Imagine what he must have felt when he found out the woman he was engaged to, was pregnant and there was no doubt that he was not the father. But he loved Mary and wanted her to experience shame or disgrace, so he opted to quietly give her a bill of divorcement.
C. He was a Sensitive Man- His ears were open to hear God and four times, Matthew tells us, He heard Godís message because His heart and mind were sensitive to the things of God. (contrast Heb. 5:11)
D. He was a Faithful Man (v. 24, 2:14; 2:21-23) He trusted and obeyed God. God said it and with no recorded argument Joseph did it. He married Mary and respectfully had no physical relations with her until after Jesus was born. We donít know if they knew the prophecy of Bethlehem but when the census declared that they had to go there Joseph trusted God
and took Mary there. I was thinking of Joseph when the Song, Strange Way to Save the World.
E. He was a Man after Godís own Heart. What amazes me as I think about it, is the fact that this man, without argument or objection, willingly took on the calling of being an adoptive parent. His wife, that he had yet to be intimate with, would have a child that was not his own, and though He was the child of God, He was not Josephís, yet this young
manís first shot at being a Father would be to someone elseís child. Yet Joseph would risk his life to care for and love and raise this child for God and for Godís glory.
Guyís Ė I pray that this Christmas season you would let Josephís life speak to your own. I pray that you will determine to love God and love people with all your heart.
I pray that will be sensitive to hearing Godís voice as you seek His will for your life every day.
I pray that you will trust and obey God even when you donít understand.
And then, I pray that you will consider the children; children without parents, children with just one parent, children who need men to teach them and to be role models and coachís not just to play sports but to be grow up as men. (Michael Cardís ĖJosephís song). "How can a man be father to the Son of God?" I would love for every man who ever went
through Menís Fraternity to think of a young man to mentor with the things we learned. Just everything we have been taught in Menís Fraternity, I have said, I wish someone would have taught me when I was 16, 18, 21 or even 30. Will you consider this? Find a young man and ask them to go through the last five weeks or to go through the entire series with you.
You see this is Godís heart. God is an adoptive parent. You are a child of God (if you are a believer) only because God invested his life in you and adopted you into His family. Few things will make you more of a man after Godís own heart as investing your lives in children who are not your own.
Teach Childrenís Church, start a youth or college group, or a mid-week Childrenís ministry in your home.
Find a child from a single parent home and mentor that child for God.
Like Joseph we donít know how old Mary was though many suggest that she may have been a young teen, maybe no more than 15 or 16. Nor, do we know anything about her family background. Our Catholic friends have given her a status that the Bible does not, saying that she was a perpetual Virgin and that in order to give birth to Jesus, she must have been
sinless and therefore had to have had an Immaculate Conception, that is, she, herself was conceived that way.
But this is what we do know about Mary:
A. Her fatherís name was probably Heli or Eli (Luke 3:21) and a Descendent of Davidís son Nathan
B. She had a sister named Salome (cp. Matt. 27:56, Mark 15:40; John 19:25) Salome was James and Johnís mother, the wife of Zebedee.
C. She was cousin to Elizabeth (Luke 1:36)
D. A Resident of Nazareth and engaged to Joseph, the carpenter. Probably an arranged marriage by Josephís and her own parents.
E. She was a virgin. (1:27, 34)
F. She was a Righteous Woman Ė Highly favored Ė That is she was the recipient of Godís grace. Mary was not sinless, in fact in her song she sang to her Savior (1:47). Sinless people donít need a Savior, only those with a sin do.
G. She was a woman of Faith. She believed God could do the Impossible in and through her. (34-38, 45)
H. She offered herself to God as a willing servant (v. 38). Her life belonged to God. (cp. 1 Cor. 6:19-20, Rom. 12:1-2).
I. She was a woman of the Word. Her song is very similar to the one Hannah sang in 1 Samuel 2. Without her own copy of the Bible, it is obvious that Mary listened intently and meditated on Godís word. (cp. Luke 2:19 and Psalm 1, she meditated).
J. She was a Worshiping Woman (v.46ff). Whether she sang this or just recited it, she loved God, and worshiped Him with her life (Heb. 13:15, Rom.12:1).
K. She was a Humble and Submissive woman who followed God and her Husband.
L. She was a praying woman (Acts 1:14).
M. She was a Mother who had at least 6 other children after Jesus. (Mark 6:3)
Now we could go on and on about Mary and about Joseph, but here is the bottom line, God chose to use two people that the world would never consider extraordinary, in fact the world would consider them ordinary and common, yet these are exactly the kind of people that God prefers to use to make Himself known to the world. There is another song that says
that very thing, "God uses ordinary people, He uses people like you and meÖ."
Look at 1 Cor. 1:26-29. "For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. 27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 28 and the base things of the
world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, 29 that no flesh should glory in His presence
You see God isnít looking for the rich and famous or socially or politically powerful to change the world. He is looking for people like you and me. Donít ever say, "God could never use me." These verses tell us that you are exactly the kind of person God wants to use. Look at scripture, God uses:
Shepherds and Cattlemen, Farmers, Fishermen, Carpenters, laborers, mechanics, Teachers, Computer programmers, Retired people, Athletes, Prisoners, People with illnesses and abnormalities, Me, and He wants to use you.
Read other thoughtful writings by Pastor Gary Buchman