Calvary Baptist Church, Rittman, OH
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Introduction: Few events impact our lives like the birth of a child. Regardless of the cultural setting, new duties unfold, new responsibilities take shape, our hopes and dreams for the future suddenly have a new piece in the equation.
As we enter this Christmas season, as we peek into the lives of heaven's First Family, I want us to focus today on Joseph, the husband of Mary and foster father of Jesus. Perhaps we could interview him today. Let's step up to the edge of the cave where the manger is and try to get his attention.
[in a whisper] Psst! Psst! Joseph, Joseph! [motioning] could you come over here for a minute. I don't want to wake the baby, but I did want an opportunity to ask some questions about all that has happened to you these last 9 months. Is that OK?
First, I did some research on your family - boy, you've got quite a genealogical tree. I noticed Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah - among the early notables. Is there anything that you'd like to tell us about your family members?
Joseph responds: Some of them were rascals? - Yes, it seems like every family has some of those. But what can you tell me about Abraham? You say you were amazed to learn of his faith? Did his faith strengthen your faith any? It did? Praise God for the faith of Abraham.
Do you know anything about Isaac? You say he was one of the few of your family that only had one wife - that was Rebecca wasn't it? Now let's see, they had two sons, Jacob and Esau and you are from Jacob's side, is that right? Boy, that Jacob was something else wasn't he?
Jacob had 12 boys and your lineage comes through Judah, is that right? Judah seems to have some skeletons in his closet too.
Joseph, I noticed some other names that struck me - King David, King Solomon - the world's wisest man - is there anything you want to tell us about these men?
What about King David? You think he was a great king, you think that Jesus will sit on David's throne some day, [really!] you think he really loved God, but he had a weak spot in his morals. What did you learn from David, Joseph, about morals, I mean? You say you learned that men and women are supposed to keep their sexual relationships inside marriage only. I'd say that was a pretty valuable lesson.
Is that why it was such a serious thing for you when you discovered that, while you were engaged to Mary, and she told you that she was going to have a child, that you seriously considered putting her away privately?
I want to come back to that a little later on in the interview, but for now, let's continue talking about your ancestors.
What can you tell me about Solomon? I know that everyone says he was the wisest man who ever lived. Did you learn some specific things from his life?
What was that? You say you learned that things don't matter nearly as much as people. How did Solomon teach you that? Oh, you read his book, Ecclesiastes, where he said, "Vanity of vanities, all is vanity and vexation of spirit."
Joseph, what did Solomon teach you about God? You say he taught you not to let people turn your heart away from God? Boy, that's a big, important lesson, isn't it?
Finally, Joseph, I noticed a fellow in your genealogy named Jeconiah or Coniah. I looked his name up and found that it occurred in Jeremiah 22.30. [In 2 Kings 24.6, 8, he is called Jehoiachin.] What can you tell me about Coniah? He was one of those rascals you spoke about? What do you mean? He did evil in God's sight.
Well, what did God have to say about him?
You mean He said that no one who was from Coniah's seed would ever sit on the throne of David? But doesn't the fact that you are a descendant of David, through Solomon, somehow have a bearing on the fact that you were chosen to be the foster father of Jesus, the Christ? How does that work?
Oh, I see, you are considered a legal, technical heir to the throne, just because you are of David's line through Solomon. The Jewish people would understand that, if Jesus really were your son, He would have a legal right to the throne. That's very interesting!
Joseph, can we talk about your relationship with Mary and how you came to know that things you now know about her and the baby to which she gave birth?
You and she were engaged [betrothed] - how does that work in the Jewish economy?
Tell us how you felt when you discovered - by the way, did she tell you? - that she was carrying a child and you and she had never been intimate?
Did you have grounds to get a divorce from her? I mean, every body around you would have supported your decision - right?
What changed your mind? You had a what? A dream? Do you believe in dreams? You believe in this one! Especially since God was the one who was talking to you through His angel.
Boy am I glad that you listened when God spoke. Think what a tough time Mary and Jesus would have had, if you had not been in the picture. You and I both know how people wag their tongues when they think they have some juicy bit of gossip.
Joseph, can I ask you some questions about Mary and the baby Jesus? In light of the fact that the shepherds have created some commotion over the birth of Jesus, do you think there will be any trouble with the authorities? You don't know. What's it like there in the cave? Special? How do you mean? The warmth of the animals bodies keep the place relatively warm - isn't that just like God? Mary had an easy time with the birth? Boy, that's wonderful, especially since there are no medical facilities close by - and you didn't even have a mid-wife.
Tell me what the shepherds said when they came. They said an angel spoke to them - you could relate to that couldn't you. They said that the baby in the manger was going to be savior of the world. What do you think about that? Oh, the angel told you that too. What did he say? Thou shalt call his name JESUS for He shall what? Save His people from their sins.
I must say, Joseph, you have quite a responsible task ahead of you. Oh, by the way, Joseph, how old are you? You are how old? 93 years old. I hope you're up to those two o'clock feedings - just kidding.
Well, I'm sure you need to get back to Mary and baby Jesus so I'll let you go. Thanks for taking time to talk with me and my friends here at Calvary. I think we have a little better understanding of some of the miraculous things God has done. Oh, and good luck on your journey back to Nazareth. I hope your son - foster son, excuse me - grows up to be a good carpenter.
Oh, I forgot, He's going to be the Savior. Yes, thank you for reminding me.
Conclusion: God in His wisdom, looked down from His throne in the heavens, and selected this wonderful man, Joseph, to be the husband of Mary and the foster father of Jesus. We know little about the influence that Joseph had on the life of Jesus, but we know quite a bit about the character of this man - and say what you will, character matters to God.
2. He was a spiritual man.
3. He was a gentle man.
4. He believed and obeyed God.
5. He was a disciplined man.
6. He was a protective husband and father.
7. He cared for Jesus as though Jesus was his own son.
8. He was well known in the Jewish community. John 6.42
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