Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas, Joseph

In Luke 1, the angels visited Zacharias and Mary. But these were not the only roles the angels played that first Christmas. In Matthew 1:18-23, the angels also said “Merry Christmas” to Joseph. Joseph was betrothed to Mary (v18). This was as binding as marriage and usually lasted for one year. During this time period there was no sexual contact permitted and privacy was frowned upon. However, during their betrothal, Mary is found to be pregnant. I can guarantee you that Joseph’s first thought was not anything to do with some kind of virgin conception. The only human conclusion was adultery.

Joseph had several options according to the law. He could have had her stoned (Deuteronomy 22:23-24). He could have disgraced her with a public divorce. Or he could have chosen a private divorce where only 2 witnesses were needed, no judge was involved and no reason had to be stated. Joseph chose the private divorce (v19). Before this was carried out, an angel appeared to Joseph in a dream and called him by name showing how much God cares for us intimately (v20). The angel told Joseph not to be afraid showing that it takes courage to obey God (v20). The angel commands Joseph to take Mary as his wife and to call the baby’s name “Jesus.” The angel informs him that this baby was conceived by the Holy Spirit (v20) and would save people from their sin (v21). This baby was a fulfillment of prophecy (v22-23). Joseph obeys immediately (v24) and completely (v25).

The final angelic visitation leading up to the birth of Christ happened the very night He was born to a group of Shepherds in Luke 2:8-14. In that day shepherds had bad reputations due to their jobs not allowing them to keep all of the ceremonial law. When the angels appeared they literally “feared a great fear” due to the radiant glory of the Lord that accompanied the angels. The purpose of the angel’s appearance was not to cause fear. The words, “Fear not,” are a repeated theme throughout the Christmas story (Zacharias, Luke 1:13; Mary, Luke 1:30; and Joseph, Matthew 1:20). The purpose of the angel was to bring a message of good news which would result in great joy for all people

The Time = Today

The Place = Bethlehem (the city of David)

The Event = A Savior’s birth

The Title = Christ (Anointed One) the Lord (God)

The Sign = A baby wrapped in cloths lying in a manger

This angelic visit ends with singing. What was their song? Glory to God in the highest. Christmas’ purpose was to bring glory to God. What else did they sing? On earth peace among men with whom He is pleased. Christmas’ purpose was to bring to us peace with God

1 comment:

Ronia said...

This is great info to know.