Connecting the Good News to Mary and Joseph

Connecting the Good News to
Mary and Joseph
Pastor Stephen "Red" Shumate
June 18th, 2017
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


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Connecting the Gospel to Mary and Joseph.

Luke 1:26-38 tells the story of when the angel came to Mary.  Matthew 1:18-24 tells the story about when the Angel came to Joseph.

How do these stories point to Jesus?
Quite simply, they point to Jesus because they are about Jesus’ birth.  But more than that they even point to the need for Jesus.

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

I can’t even begin to tell you how important this one concept is.  The concept that sin…all sin, any sin, big sins, little sins, one-time sins, habitual sins, sins in the dark, sins in publicAll sin leads to our spiritual death and we need saving from it.

I tried to think of something to compare this to, but I really couldn’t come up with anything not even the darkest movies, touch the reality and danger of sin.

Sin, in some ways is like a dangerous virus that kills you slowly.  A virus that there is no cure for it.  And even the smallest exposure to it will ultimately lead to your death.  So in one way, it’s like deadly virus.  But it’s worse than that, because it’s also like a drug.  It’s like a drug in that it gives you a short-term high, a short-term satisfaction.  And so, we become addicted to it.  We can’t stop…we sin and we sin and we sin. And the more we sin, the more downhill life becomes.

Why is this story important?
One of the reasons this story is important is because it announces the fulfillment of God’s promise.  Now this announcement is important because if the Angel hadn’t come to Joseph and Mary and told them what was going on, this story goes a much different way, and it becomes almost impossible to recognize Jesus as the messiah in a very clear way.

Without the announcement, nobody is looking for the Messiah.  Joseph probably thinks Mary is cheating on him and leaves her. Mary doesn’t have any idea how she got pregnant. Without the angel making the announcement and telling them what was going on, this story becomes about the dysfunction of Mary and Joseph and not the miracle of Jesus Christ.

But because the promises, prophesies and predictors came before Jesus arrived, then it means Jesus fills a role, the role of the messiah.  A role that would be impossible for someone to fill on purpose.

In other words, somebody couldn’t just take a list of prophesies about the messiah and make them happen.   How can you make a virgin birth happen? How can you ensure that after you die on a cross and that your legs wouldn’t be broken (as would have been custom to make sure you were dead) to fulfill the prophesy that no bone would be broken in his body?

There were so many prophesies about the messiah, that you couldn’t write them all down and then manufacture them to happen.

Where are we in the story? 
We are of course Mary and Joseph…

Here, in this story, God called Mary and Joseph two ordinary people.  They weren’t kings, they weren’t priests, they weren’t rich…they were just two ordinary people…Just like you and me.

But God gave them a call, a task, a purpose…to be the parents of the Messiah.  Now that’s a pretty big call.  That’s a pretty big request!  Especially for two regular people.  And for most people, that would have scared us half to death and we might even reject that big of a call on our lives.

But how did they respond?  Mary, simply said…
“I am the Lord’s servant,” said Mary. “May it be done to me according to your word.”

And Joseph…
When Joseph woke up, he did as the Lord’s angel had commanded him. He married her

There was no questioning God’s call.  There was no, “That’s too big for me, God, I can’t do it.”  There was no… “that’s too scary.”  It was simple obedience, to one of the greatest calls of all time.

So the question becomes, if we are Joseph and Mary in this story, then what is our response if God gives us a big call on our lives?  What if God asks you to do something that seems bigger than you?  Would you be frightened?  Would you question the call?  Or Would you simply be obedient?

God might not be calling us to be the parents of the Messiah, but He might be calling us to something bigger than we are, something that we are not equipped for.  Moses certainly wasn’t equipped to free the Israelites. He had a stuttering problem, and a really messed up history.  Shadrach, Meshack and Abednego certainly weren’t equipped to walk into a fiery furnace.  Joseph and Mary, weren’t equipped to parent the Son of God?  People are just barely equipped to parent human kids, much less the child of God.  And you, you and I are not equipped to do what God is calling us to.

It has been said before that God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips those He calls.  And so, when God gives you a call on your life, that seems bigger than you are, that you aren’t equipped for, how will you respond?  Will you respond with questions, doubts, and resistance?  Or will you respond with simple obedience? The thing is, because we know that God equips those He calls, we can respond with simple obedience.

Blessings
Now before we go, there is one more thing I want to talk about.  And it has everything in the world to do with God calling us and equipping us.  But before I get to that, I want to ask you a question.

Are you are blessed?
Are you blessed with a nice house?  Are you blessed with a good Job?  Are you blessed with money?  Are you blessed with a good church family?  Are you blessed with health? Are you blessed?

No doubt, many of us are blessed.  We are blessed with these things and so much more.  But what if, these things aren’t the greatest thing God can bless us with? What if, the greatest blessing God can give us (besides salvation of course), isn’t any thing at all?

What if the greatest blessing God give us…is equipping us to do things we can’t do on our own?  What if His greatest gift to us, is giving us the ability to do the things that He does every day.  Things that are far bigger than us, things that we could never do on our own, but because God gives us abilities beyond our own, for just one brief moment, we get to see the world from His point of view.  What if His greatest blessing to us, is equipping us and calling us to do things that are bigger than us.

The sad thing, is that I think many of us miss this blessing.  I think we miss this blessing because we are looking so hard for him to bless us with things, not with abilities.  I think we look for him to bless us with money, a job, a career, security, a family…when we need to look for him to bless us with the ability to give someone a job, to teach a career, to share our family, to give to the needy, to feed a family.  He gives us his love generously, which give us the ability to share his love generously.

What will your answer be When God calls you?


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