Wednesday, December 19, 2012

mid-week Advent 3

To Whom Does Jesus Come?
Matthew 1:20-23

INTRODUCTION: To whom does Jesus come? He comes to people who struggle with their faith. So often in matters of life the issues are not always black and white. Sometimes there is a lot of gray. 

Often we are forced to struggle and wrestle as we grapple with the question, “Lord what should I do?”  At other times we know intuitively what we should do.  There is no needing to ask: “what shall I do now?” 

We know, in our gut, with every fiber of our being, what we ought to do. All we need to ask in such instances is for the strength and the will to act. To whom does Jesus come? He comes with enlightenment to him who does not understand.

We consider this evening Joseph. When he learned that Mary was bearing a child, he was understandably disturbed. He knew of two realities.
First, Mary to whom he was engaged was expecting a child. He also knows he is not the Father!

Joseph, being a just man, tried to conform his life to the Jewish law. “Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.” (v.19) Here we see Joseph’s dilemma. Whose reputation, he pondered, should be tarnished, Mary’s or his own? That was the issue with which he was wrestling. Joseph felt betrayed; he loved Mary, yet he didn’t want to “expose her to public disgrace.” To whom does Jesus come? He comes to people who struggle with their faith.  He comes with enlightenment to him who does not understand.

1. In making decisions, of which we do not fully understand all of the circumstances remember it is God who is working behind the scenes to will and to do His perfect good pleasure. Such was the case in the birth of Jesus as Joseph understood it. An angel sent by God had to intervene.   Matthew 1:20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.

2. Joseph also learned a second valuable lesson. When God is acting for us it is He who will act. Because man is blind, dead, and an enemy of God we need God’s saving work in our lives.
This is exactly why Jesus was born in the first place. This is why He came. The angel explains to Joseph specifically why this birth means so much.

 Matthew 1:21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”  

And save us He has. God is at work working out your salvation. Nothing is left to chance. To the contrary He is shaping, molding and using ever circumstance in your life to bring about one reality. He was born to afford you salvation. That is why Jesus came to this earth. He came to save His people from their sins.

3. Joseph also learned a valuable lesson. The Scriptures cannot be broken. Jesus’ birth was not a mistake, a miscalculation, an inaccuracy. To the contrary it was all mapped out in Scripture. The Savior’s birth had been foretold in sacred Scripture and to Joseph’s amazement these Scriptures were fulfilled in his lifetime. He lived to see them played out right before his eyes! Matthew 1:22-23 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”—which means, “God with us.”

Conclusion: When we must choose – choose wisely. Often we are forced to make decisions in life in which the outcome will not necessarily be pleasant. 
When we have to choose “the lesser of two evils” as Joseph, we need to wrestle and pray. Actions do have their consequences. Joseph did not act rashly. Decisions reached hastily are often ill advised. Patience is needed when the situation is serious.                 

+ Soli Deo Gloria + 

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