by Alan Carr
Scripture: St. Matthew 1: 18-25
Illustration. Dying man trying to find a family to raise his daughter. He placed her with a Christian family because they would treat her right and show her the right way to live. How particular do you suppose God was when He was choosing the family that would raise Jesus? I think that God would want to find a family that would treat the child good, that would train Him up in the way of the Lord, that would Jesus the example that every young man needs and deserves.
Much, often too much emphasis is placed on Mary and her choice to become the mother of Jesus. Yes, she deserves to be thanked and held in great respect, but too often, we forget about Joseph. His example and lifestyle were very influential in the life of the Lord Jesus. Tonight, I want to take just a few minutes to look at the man God chose to raise His Son.
I. v. 18-19 HIS DILEMMA
(Illustration. The way Joseph handled himself revealed a lot about his true character.)
A. An Unexpected Development – Illustration. The pregnancy of Mary during the betrothal period was a serious offense. (Ill. The Betrothal period was considered as binding as a marriage.) (Ill. How respond in a time of crisis reveals our true nature! When things are going smoothly, we are able to hide a lot that becomes clear in a crisis!) Joseph’s reaction reveals a man under control! (Ill. Jesus was always in control of Himself – He probably saw this trait in Joseph!)
B. An Uncharacteristic Deliberation – Illustration. Most men would have divorced Mary, (Illustration. The procedure!) This would have left her poverty stricken and because of the baby, no other man would have dared marry her.
Illustration. Joseph was "Just" – Righteous! He wanted to do the right thing by Mary! (Joseph and Jesus were both marked by their compassion – John 8:1-11. ( Tradition says that Joseph was a widower who was much older than Mary. If so, this may have accounted for his patience, calmness and wisdom in the situation.)
C. An Uncommon Decision – Illustration. Joseph, by right, could have invoked the death penalty – Deut. 22:13-21. He could have Mary stoned to death publicly. However, he chose to spare her the shame. Again, this reveals compassion on the part of Joseph.
II. v. 20-23 HIS DREAM
(Illustration. 3 Great Truths were revealed to Joseph in his dream)
A. The Truth Of The Pregnancy Is Revealed – Joseph discovers who the real Father is. Joseph realizes that he has been chosen to be part of a glorious plan.
B. The Child’s Title Is Revealed – Illustration. Joseph is commanded to name the child "Jesus" – Jehovah Is Salvation! ( Jesus certainly lived up to His Name!)
C. Joseph’s Task Is Revealed – Joseph would have to live with the shame that would be placed upon Him by others. There are several traditions surrounding the birth of Jesus. Again, this speaks well of Joseph, he was willing to bear this cross for the glory of God. Certainly, Jesus learned much from watching this man suffer in silence!
III. v. 24-25 HIS DECISION
A. He Obeyed The Lord’s Commands – Obedience reveals the heart of man like nothing else! Ill. John 14:15; 1 Sam. 15:22. When we obey the Lord’s command, even when they are unpleasant or hard, it proves our love for Him and reveals where our loyalty truly is.
B. He Observed Mary’s Chastity – Mary and Joseph never came together physically until after Jesus was born, thus fulfilling the Scripture – v. 23. This is another indication of the man’s moral standing. A lesser man would have demanded the right of a husband. ( Joseph possessed the characteristics of his Old Testament counterpart Joseph – Gen. 39 esp. Gen. 39:9)
C. He Obediently Named The Child – The right of naming the child was in the hand of the Father. Joseph knew that the child’s true Father wanted the child called Jesus. Therefore, Joseph named the child Jesus.
Joseph was chosen to be the surrogate father of Jesus because he was pure of life and pure of heart. He was the kind of man God could use, because God didn’t have to worry about Joseph getting in the way. In other words, he was yielded to the will of the Lord. We ought to look at our own lives tonight and ask ourselves, "Are we the kind of person that God could use in a big way?" If not, then what do we need to do to get there? God will never call another man to do what Joseph did. But, God has plenty of big jobs left to do, He just needs the people who are willing and qualified to do them
Copyright 2003 by Alan Carr. Used with permission
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