Bible Text: Matthew 1:18-25 | Preacher: Pastor Steve | Series: Abiding in the Lord, Transformed by Christmas
Matthew 1:18-25 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.
And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins. So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which is translated, God with us. Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name Jesus.
Joseph Transformed by Christmas!
God stands with us in our sin and shame and sorrow.
God, Why Me?
I fix things! I make things fit!
I live my life according to the rules, the Torah…
How many of us may feel like Joseph?
Trapped between what God says and what makes sense
Obedience Releases Hope
Joseph was also one of those who was not picked or chosen to be a rabbi, AND YET God chose him to be the earthy father figure for HIS SON, Jesus!
Matthew 1:19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly.
Joseph was a JUST man (righteous). The Hebrew word for a just or righteous man is tsaddîyq.
God through Joseph is redefining what it means to be a tsaddîyq, what true righteousness is, and how we are TRANSFORMED BY CHRISTMAS!
What the Torah says, you do!
Deuteronomy 22 covers marriage violation: If a woman pledged to be married is unfaithful, it says: she shall be brought to the door of her father’s house and there the men of her town shall stone her to death.
Grace and Righteousness in the Midst of Obedience!
Matthew 1:19 Joseph, being a just man, did not want to make a public example of her.
Literally: BECAUSE he was a tsaddîyq – righteous man—he didn’t want to cause a scandal.
Matthew 1:19 …he was minded to put her away secretly or divorce her.
In this way, Joseph would minimize her suffering but maintain his righteousness.
Matthew 1:20-21 But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.
Why did God make Joseph wait till after he struggled with all this stuff?
Is it possible that anxiety removal is not God’s number one goal for Joseph—or maybe for you and me?
Is it possible that in getting his world turned upside down, in having to struggle between what he thought a tsaddîyq (a righteous man) ought to do, and his obedience…
Was Joseph being prepared by God to come to a new understanding of what righteousness is?
Is it possible there’s a ministry of TRANSFORMATION and that God is allowing this to take place in Joseph’s life so he’ll grow?
Is it possible in our life?
Obedience in spite of Pain and Fear
The angel says, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife.”
Obedience over Reputation
The angel says, Do not be afraid, and Joseph did what the angel had commanded him.
Can we see how Joseph made a TRANSFORMING decision?
Now his days as a tsaddîyq—as a righteous man—are over as he understood, he was TRANSFORMED BY CHRISTMAS!
Obedience and Grace
Matthew 5:20 Unless your righteousness passes that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law—the old system—you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.
Joseph Transformed by Christmas.