Fourth Sunday of Advent — Matthew 1:24-25
“A Strong, Rugged Construction Worker Shoulders a Huge Responsibility”
“When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife. But he did not have sexual relations with her until her son was born. And Joseph named him Jesus” (Matthew 1:24-25, NLT)
Sure, you’re in the linage of King David, but the significance of that faded out over four hundred years ago. Your identity is a construction worker. Blue collar. Good for staying under the radar of jealous kings. Your fiancé has recently told you she is pregnant, but still a virgin and that this child is from God. You’ve been wrestling in your mind what to do. You want to believe her; but it’s not logical. According to the Law of Moses: if you accuse her of being unfaithful and it’s not your baby; she could be publically stoned. You don’t want to do that. You still love her, but deeply hurt. Then last night you had a dream of an Angel of the Lord speaking to you. The Angel not only affirms Mary’s innocence and that the child is from God; but that the child is the Son of God and in fact “Emmanuel” (God with us). Don’t be afraid to marry your fiancé Mary. You are to raise this child as your own son. Now the sun has risen on a new day; what are you going to do? If you go ahead and marry her early, as the Angel suggested; people are going to think you’re the reason she’s pregnant before the proper time and you’re just covering it up.
If you were in Joseph’s sandals what would you do?
Joseph would prove by his actions that God had chosen the right man to raise his son. He chose to obey the angel and marry her immediately and in doing so, took the brunt of criticism on his own shoulders. I find it intriguing that God doesn’t give a list of specific instruction on how to raise his son; he just trusts him. Neither does God tell Joseph ahead of time that he and Mary will have to make over a 75-mile journey near the time of birth. Or that when they get to Bethlehem all the inns would be full and the baby would have to be delivered in the stables. Or that two years later an angel would wake Joseph up in the middle of the night to sneak his little family off to Egypt; because King Herod the Great would see their child as a threat to his throne and send and army to kill him. Joseph proves to be worthy of God’s trust.
The carpenter had strong shoulders.
Lord, please help us men to be more like Joseph. Obedient, faithful. Willing to risk. Trusted by God to carry responsibility.
– Pastor Stephen C. Floyd, First Church of the Nazarene, Falls City