When Joseph was told, “Do not be afraid,” he listened. He continued toward what he was called—even if it included only half the story. And where Joseph would have had grounds to walk away from Mary due to their scandalous circumstances, he stuck it out … like he was instructed to from the very beginning.
Mary and Joseph were destined for something they could have never expected, and certainly could not explain once it became a reality—but fear remained.
“And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.’” (Matt. 1:19-21, ESV)
What Joseph and Mary could not foresee, though, is exactly how we would ultimately be saved. Their faith in God’s promises would usher in the one event that would save us all from our sins.
When Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, He sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until His enemies should be made a footstool for His feet. For by a single offering He has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified. (Heb. 10:12-14, ESV)
But the fear was not Joseph and Mary’s, alone. We also see this in Matthew 2:1-3 (ESV):
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, ‘Where is He who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw His star when it rose and have come to worship Him.’ When Herod the king heard this, He was troubled, and all Jerusalem with Him.
However you approach the story of Jesus’ birth, one thing always remains consistent: Fear never changes God’s plans. But for those who pursue what God calls them to regardless of their fear, the reward they receive is immeasurable. Joseph and Mary could have run from the part of God’s story they were called to play, but they stayed the course, and they trusted that their baby being born truly was the Savior of the world … just as was prophesied so many years prior, and all throughout the history of Israel.
We have a similar decision this holiday season.
Do we truly believe that Jesus is the Messiah? That He lowered himself in such a way as to sacrifice His position in Heaven to become human for our sake? And do we trust God’s plan enough to follow Him by faith in all the goodness and mercy He poured out for us on the cross as a result?
Joseph and Mary did, and they did so with only half the story. We can do the same now, but with the whole story.
Merry Christmas everyone! And may we never forget what we are told in Matthew 1:22-23 (ESV):
All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: ‘Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel’ (which means, God with us).
QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF:
- Which part of the Christmas story do you most resonate with? Which part do you struggle with?
- What would you have done if you were in the same situation as Mary and Joseph?
- How has fear held you back from fully believing and/or following Jesus Christ?
- Do you believe that Jesus is exactly who we celebrate Him to be every Christmas? And if not, do you want to talk more about it with someone at Harvest? (Let us know here: https://www.harvestworld.com/contact-us/).
OUR “IMPATIENTLY WAITING” CHRISTMAS SERIES IN REVIEW …
Sermon: “A Star at Its Rising”