(Matthew 1:18-25), "Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name Jesus."
In our last lesson, we began a series entitled, “The First Family of Christmas” in which we began to examine a different member of this family and learn some lessons from their lives that will help us to keep our minds and hearts focused upon celebrating the true meaning of Christmas, but also help us to become better Christians and servants of the Lord. In our first study we examined “Mary, the Mother of Jesus” and the lessons that we learned from her life that can help us be better servants of the Lord if we apply them to our lives. We saw first, "The Commonness of Mary's Life" and learned that "God uses common ordinary people to accomplish His work in this world and that God wants to use you." Secondly, we saw the "Consecration of Mary's Life" and learned that "God wants us to live godly, holy lives, and if we do God Himself will commend us from heaven.” Lastly, we saw "The Commitment of Mary's Life" and learned that "we must willingly submit every area of our lives to God if we are going to accomplish His will in our lives." In this study we are going to examine Joseph, the earthly Father of Jesus.”
- THE COMMONNESS OF JOSEPH’S LIFE (Matthew 1:18)
The first thing we learn about Joseph is that he was just a common, ordinary, normal man, just like we are. "The City in which he lived" teach us that he was just a common, ordinary person. (Luke 2:4a), says that he lived in “city of Nazareth.” Joseph came from the same city of Mary, the Mother of Jesus and in our last lesson; we learned Nazareth was just a common, ordinary city that wasn't known for much. Therefore, we learn that Joseph, like Mary, came from humble beginnings. Furthermore, in looking at the commonness of Joseph's life we see, "The Craft in which he labored" teaches that he was just a common, ordinary person. Joseph was a carpenter and we learn this from the question that was ask about Jesus after He was grown in (Matthew 13:55a), “Is not this the carpenter's son?…” Joseph was a working man and the fact that he was a working man teaches that he was just a common, ordinary, normal person, who had the extraordinary joy and privilege of having Jesus Christ in relation to him as a son. The lesson we learn from the commonness of Joseph’s life is the same as that of Mary, and that is, God uses common, ordinary, people to accomplish His plans and purposes in this world. God takes the nobody's of this world and makes them somebody's for His honor and glory.
- THE CONSECRATION OF JOSEPH’S LIFE (Matthew 1:18-19a)
The Bible tells us that Joseph was a just man. The phrase, “just man” means "to be consecrated." To be a just man means to be a man who is justified or one who has a right relationship with God, one who is upright, respectable, and has a good reputation before men. I want to point out that Joseph was a just man before God called him to be the earthly father of the Lord Jesus Christ; and it was for this reason that that God called Joseph to be the earthly father of the Lord Jesus Christ because he be trusted Joseph to do what was right. The lesson we learn from Joseph in this is that, God is looking for people He can trust to use for His honor and for His glory. And God only trusts those who are living just, holy, sanctified, obedient, submissive lives to Him and His Word.
- THE COURAGE OF JOSEPH’S LIFE (Matthew 1:24-25)
Joseph was a just man with a good reputation and He learns that his wife to be is already pregnant. What a shock! And what a trial! It has been said, "The real test of courage and spiritual maturity in a Christian’s life is not what they face in life, nor is it revealed in what they are called on to do. The real evidence of the depth of a Christian’s courage and spiritual maturity is seen in what they do with what they are handed." It is one thing to be placed in a trial; but it is another thing altogether to respond to that trial in a proper manner. It is one thing to be called to carry out a task for the Lord; but it is another thing altogether to do it without question. In Joseph’s response to his trial and what he was called to do we are given a priceless glimpse of his courage as a believer. Notice "Joseph’s Courage of Unconditional Compliance." (v. 24) Many men would have walked away from the Lord and from Mary at that moment. But, not Joseph! As soon as he awoke, he rose up and carried out the command of the Lord. There is no doubt that people talked about this young couple that had been unable and unwilling to wait until they were “properly married.” But let me say, “at this moment in Joseph’s life, he was not interested in what the community thought about him; he simply wanted to carry out the will of the Lord for his life. God wants us to give Him unconditional compliance and many times in life it this takes courage because of unanswered questions we may have; fears and concerns that may haunt us; and the thought of what others will think and say. Secondly, notice "Joseph’s Courage of Unwavering Commitment." (v. 25a) Even when he took Mary into his home, he refrained himself from physical contact with her. He obeyed the Lord and preserved her virginity until after Jesus had been born. Get the picture in this story. Here is a man willing to bear the shame and reproach leveled at him from the community, and he is also willing to place his own desires, needs, and rights on the back burner because he wants nothing more than to do the perfect will of God. God not only wants our unconditional compliance to His plans for our lives but He also wants our unwavering commitment regardless of the personal cost and embarrassment that it may cost us. Thirdly, notice "Courage of Unfailing Completion." (v. 25b) After this child was born, Joseph took the next step of faith and named the child Jesus, just as he had been commanded by the angel Gabriel. Joseph completed the assignment that God gave him to do. The lesson we learn from this, God wants us to complete and fulfill His will for our lives.
Pastor Allen Jackson