By John Barnett, Crosswalk.com
In every story of the birth of Jesus, there is mention of individuals we know just enough about to be amazed-Zacharias & Elisabeth, Simeon & Anna, Wisemen & Shepherds, and now Joseph & Mary. God has captured with His Holy Word a picture that inspires and challenges us. This season of remembering Christ's Birth, join me in looking again at that familiar story of Joseph and Mary and Baby Jesus. But pause with me in God's Word and extract some powerful truths by observing what the Scriptures reveal and imply about this amazing couple who were walking with the Lord.
This Christmas morning, let's look again through the lens of the Scriptures at the two young people God chose to use--Joseph and Mary. God was able to use them so greatly because they gave Him control of their lives. They became two of the most important people in the entire world for the work of salvation.
As you open to this first book of the New Testament we are looking at the incredible spiritual maturity and responsiveness that God can produce in the life of a teenager. How many of you here this morning, are teens? Here is what God can do with a teen that He has all of their heart. Open to Matthew 1:18 onward.
What will we find was the secret? Simply that God had all of their lives! Did they avoid troubles, fears, pains, struggles, anguish, and hardships? Nope, but they had God with them all the way through.
How do they respond to some very stressful times? Watch and see!
Look at verses 21 and 23 with me because in those two verses we have presented the greatest truth and the greatest question you will ever be confronted with. First, the greatest truth is about salvation.
Matthew 1:21: And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” 23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”
First, the greatest truth of Christianity is--that the instant of our salvation, when our sins were forgiven instantly by the gracious work of Christ on the cross--we got all of God! The One who saves us is God with us! We have all of God in the person of Christ who dwells in us!
Then comes the greatest question that each of us needs to answer this morning-does God have all of me?
It was nearly 2,000 years ago that God spoke to this young, teenaged couple. They had been engaged for marriage since their childhood, by their parents. Mary was by all available data from this historic period somewhere between 14 and 16 years of age, and Joseph was most likely between the ages of 18 and 20.
Their lives up to this historic moment had been exemplary, in fact, they were chosen by God because He knew He could count on them. Think about how many right choices Joseph had made at such a young age. He was not perfect, but he had chosen to respond properly to the authority around him-from the heart. He actually was an obedient, law-abiding man in God's sight!
In verse 19 Joseph was described by God as “just”. He was righteous as a young man of conviction. He had chosen the path of holding to his Biblical convictions and practicing self-denial. God knew he was pure, had chosen pure habits, and fled sexual sins. Those choices made him just the man God could use at this historic moment. And Mary was the same. She was a woman of the Word. She lived her faith and considered herself a bondslave for the Lord.
First, Joseph is such a powerful lesson to all who will look closely. Joseph was willing to be obedient and obscure! Joseph was willing to obey even if he didn't understand what God was doing with his life. Here are the choices God honored in his life.
How can we apply the story of Joseph and Mary to our lives today? First some quick lessons from Matthew that outline the type of choices that please God in the life of a teenager, or anyone for that matter who really wants to let God in to reign in their life. Why don't you write these down as notes and ask the Lord to help you make these choices also for Him in your life?
1. Joseph sought the Lord with his problems (Matthew 1.18-20a)
2. Joseph listened to the Lord for His guidance (Matthew 1.20b-23)
3. Joseph obeyed the Lord with his actions (Matthew 1.24-25a)
4. Joseph honored the Lord by his obedience (Matthew 1.25b)
5. Joseph waited on the Lord for His leading (Matthew 2.13-18)
6. Joseph followed the Lord's directions for his family (Matthew 2.19-21)
7. Joseph led his family in the ways of the Lord (Matthew 2.22-23)
This article is part of our larger Christmas and Advent resource library centered around the events leading up to the birth of Jesus Christ. We hope these articles help you understand the meaning and story behind important Christian holidays and dates and encourage you as you take time to reflect on all that God has done for us through his son Jesus Christ!
What Is Christmas? Understanding History, Origin and Traditions
The History of Santa Claus: Origin of St. Nicholas & Christmas Traditions
When Was Jesus Born? History of December 25th
Advent Wreath & Candles - Understanding the History, Meaning, and Tradition
The History and Meaning of the Advent Calendar