Saturday, December 18, 2010

Celebrating One Night In Bethlehem Day 6

Obedient Faith

When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife.
Matthew 1:24; NLT

The one person who I think gets overlooked at Christmas is Joseph.  One reason for this is because we live in a different time and culture than the time and culture of the Gospels.  The result is that we don’t understand the sacrifice that Joseph made to become the husband of Mary and the father of Jesus.

Joseph was a righteous man and therefore he lived his life  according to Scripture.  In the religious culture of Joseph and Mary this made Joseph accepted by the community.  The problem for Joseph came when Mary became pregnant without being married to Joseph.

The punishment for such a thing according to Scripture was stoning, but Joseph found it his heart not to do that to Mary.  He decided he would break the engagement.  Engagement in Joseph and Mary’s culture was a huge commitment, and to break that engagement was a big deal that was equated to getting a divorce.  This solution would enable Joseph to keep his reputation as a righteous man and would allow Mary to keep her life.  Though she would still be shunned as a sinner by the community.

God had not only chosen Mary to raise Jesus, but He had also chosen Joseph.  In a dream an angel told Joseph to marry Mary because she was not a sinner, but was miraculously pregnant by God.  On the basis of God’s request Joseph took Mary as his wife and prepared to help her raise the child.

The result of marrying Mary would be that Joseph would lose his standing in the community as a righteous man.  He would now be labeled a sinner and he would be shunned by the community.  Life would become difficult because the righteous people of the village would not hire the sinner Joseph to do work for them.  The life that Joseph wanted fell apart when he obeyed God.

One of the difficult lessons of Christmas is that a life of faith is not an easy life. There is no doubt that following Jesus is the best way to live, but it is not a guarantee that we will be insulated from the difficulties and pain of life.  It isn’t always easy to follow God, but it is always the best way.  I am willing to bet that Joseph never regretted the decision to marry Mary and help raise Jesus.

The truth I would like you to meditate on today is: At Christmas we are reminded that obedience is often very costly.


Jo :) said...

Great post! Joseph does often seem to get a raw deal when it comes to Christmas messages today! Thanks for these thoughts - enjoyable and challenging. Jo

Circulo claro said...

Fantastic blog. Congratulations!!!

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