Dec 13, 2012

Learning From Joe and Mary

One of the subplots behind the story of the first Christmas is how God was faithful to Joseph and Mary. Have you ever thought about that?

Here was this young couple who was chosen by God to become the vessel through which He would take “the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:7-8)

As exciting as it may sound to be chosen by God for this task, the truth is that it was very hard; it had to be!

Mary was told by an angel who appeared to her in her house (yeah like that happened every day!) and told her; “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.” (Luke 1:30-33)

We gloss over this situation and romanticize it as we place the two figures into the manger scene at Christmastime. But oh the scandal! Oh the ridicule! Oh the shame!

Mary had to go through the next nine months or so telling people that although she was a virgin, she was pregnant. Her explanation was that an angel told her  that “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:35)

Joseph, her fiancĂ©, had to walk this through as well. He had to tell people that “yes” Mary really was still a virgin and that the child wasn’t his. His explanation was that “an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:20-21)

Constantly explaining on the outside that it was God’s will while perhaps on the inside wondering if they had made it all up. Joseph wasn’t there when Mary had her encounter with the angel; nor was Mary there when Joseph had his. They were each alone and they had to totally trust that God would prove Himself.

They were misunderstood and shunned by a town would not put up with this immorality and the subsequent lying that followed this tall tale. They were alone as they had only one place to look, and that was for each, individually, to look to God to prove Himself in this wild story.

And God did with such grandeur that each year all around the world we stop and set aside time to celebrate that He was faithful to prove that what He said was true!

My friend; walking in faith and following what God tells us to do is hard and it takes a grace beyond what we can muster in our own strength. We can’t do it on our own; we need God to walk us through. We have to each, individually, look to God to prove Himself to be true.

And if it was He who told us to do something, He will back it up, and He will be faithful with such grandeur that all of eternity will set aside time to celebrate that He was faithful to prove that what He said was true!

"Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved."



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