Sunday, December 24, 2017

Joseph—God's yes-man

"Joseph and the Christ Child" - Murilla 1670-75
"Joseph and the Christ Child"  - Murillo (1670-75)
TODAY'S SPECIAL: Matthew 1:18-25

"Then Joseph, being roused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife." Matthew 1:24

Though the Bible doesn't mention Jesus' earthly father Joseph often, what it does say gives us some insights into the man God picked to be the most influential male in the human Jesus's life. We discover Joseph was:

1. A descendant of King David. - Luke 1:27.

2. Kind. Even though he must have been incredibly hurt and confused at the discovery of Mary's pregnancy, his impulse was to spare her public disgrace and worse by putting her away secretly - Matthew 1:19.

3. Promptly obedient. He took Mary as his wife and left for Egypt in the middle of the night after angelic visits - Matthew 1:24; 2:13-14.

4. Self-controlled. He refrained from having intimate relations with Mary, even after they were married, in respect for the sanctity of Mary's pregnancy - Matthew 1:25.

5. A compliant citizen, obedient to Caesar's decree to register in Bethlehem, even though it "happened" at a most inconvenient time  (for him, but not for God's larger plan) - Luke 2:4.

6. Faithful and devoted in his religious practice, having Jesus circumcised on the eighth day and going up to Jerusalem every year to celebrate Passover - Luke 2:22-24; 41.

7. Sensitive, along with Mary, to the spiritual immensity and mystery of Jesus' destiny - Luke 2:33.

8. Sensible. He used common sense (which was confirmed by another angelic dream) when deciding where to settle on the family's return from Egypt - Matthew 2:22.

9. Trusting. He must have trusted the adolescent Jesus because at Jesus' 12-year-old trip to Jerusalem, he and Mary didn't keep close tabs on His whereabouts - Luke 2:43-44.

10. A responsible father. He and Mary searched for three days for their 12-year-old - Luke 2:45-46.

11. Puzzled? I wonder how he felt when Jesus intimated that His real loyalty was to a different Father - Luke 2:49-50.

12. Ordinary. To Jesus' neighbors and friends, He was known as "Joseph's son." Their surprise at His "gracious words" in the light of His supposed lineage tells us that Joseph was probably a very ordinary, unexceptional person in most ways - Luke 4:22; John 1:45.

I love it that Jesus' earthly father was so humble and ordinary. It gives us hope that all us ordinary nobodies can also be part of God's plan and purpose as we put ourselves at His disposal and keep saying "yes" like Joseph did.

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for the example of Joseph. I want my life to be remembered by my yes's to You. Amen.

MORE: Fourth Sunday of Advent

Today is the fourth Sunday of Advent. The liturgy for this day begins with this Collect:

Purify our conscience, Almighty God, by your daily visitation, that your Son Jesus Christ, at his coming, may find in us a mansion prepared for himself; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Handel's Messiah lyrics

The lyrics of the contralto recitative "Behold A Virgin Shall Conceive" are taken from Matthew 1:23 (which is a quote from Isaiah 7:14).

In this Tafelmusik rendition, the recitative is followed by the solo "O Thou That Tellest Good Tidings to Zion."


Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotes are taken from the New King James Version (NKJV) Used with permission. The Holy Bible, New King James Version Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

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