Sermond delivered December 26, 1998

by Pastor Donald J Gettys

McDonald Road Seventh-day Adventist Church

McDonald, Tennessee

Quotations from the bible are from the New International Version

A Man Named Joseph

Of the 14 different Joseph's in the Bible my favorite two are the ones that spent time in Egypt resulting from a heavenly dream. Matthew 1:18,19 This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. 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.

Let's go back a few weeks: After a lengthy consideration, Widower Joseph finally decided to remarry. It had been hard to care for his children after the death of his wife. He had spent many hours in grief and loneliness. His wife possibly died in child birth. How he missed the wife of his youth. Joseph was a descendant of David. Luke 1:26,27 In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary. All his family had been worshipers of the true God. He came from Godly stock. But now he was single. He worked hard to provide for his youngsters. There must have been at least six. His older girls tended the fire, ground grain, washed clothes, prepared simple food & cared for the younger ones. He taught his older boys to saw & smooth planks; to cut mortises & drill with an auger in the carpenter shop.

Nazareth was a tiny hamlet. In the tabulation of towns in Galilee that Josephus made, it is not among the 204 that are listed. Many of the orders for furniture must have come from as far as Jerusalem.

Joseph was very busy trying to provide for his own. He felt alone even when encircled by his children. Finally he began to search for a suitable wife. Eligible women were few and far between. The lady must be mature and capable of stepping into a crowded house of independent kids and teenagers. Four of the children were boys.

One day he saw a teenager named Mary. She was much younger, but she was mature. Her unbound hair was a sign of her virginity. He may have noticed how she behaved when dropping by his carpenter shop to order a bushel basket or a stool. He had seen her Sabbath after Sabbath there in the synagogue reverently sitting over in the women's section... Her parents may have been dead since it seems she lived with other relatives. Like Joseph, Mary eagerly awaited the coming of the Messiah.

    There were three steps in their marriage:
  1. Engagement. Frequently this was made by the parents when both were still children. Often times the couple never saw each other prior to this event.
  2. Betrothal. Matthew 1:18 KJV They were Espoused to each other. The Greek says: Betrothed. Once they were committed to being married they were legally bound to each other. They were even known as husband and wife. Notice in Matthew 1:19 Joseph is called "Husband." Yet they are not married yet. During this time there were no sexual relations. In fact even today, engaged couples who wait till marriage have vastly greater propensities of staying married than couples who choose not to wait.

    The Betrothal lasted one year. Betrothal could only be terminated by divorce. If a girl is betrothed to a man and he dies during this time, she is called a "Virgin who is a widow." On the day of the betrothal the home where she lived would be freshly white- washed and was fragrant with the scent of fresh olive leaves and wild flowers.

  3. Wedding.

However, during the betrothal, Joseph discovered a terrible problem! Mary was pregnant. Maybe he began to notice she was gaining some weight. But most likely she was completely honest with Joseph and told him the news. Look at Matthew 1:19 - again- 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.

Notice that God's word says that Joseph was a righteous man. How thankful Mary could be that she was dating a noble moral gentleman. The Jews considered one righteous, when they were zealous in keeping the law. Joseph was Upright. You should never even date an unrighteous ungodly and immoral man. Don't date a worldly person.

One day Mary said: "I am pregnant!" This was a shock to Joseph. He knew he was not to blame. How impossible that the very one who had caused love to warm his life again could now be the source of his deepest torment. Yet her eyes and voice express happiness as she tells of the visit of Gabriel.

  • Joseph had two choices:
  • Doubt Mary and consider her an adulteress.
  • Believe she was a chosen vessel of God.
  • If Mary carried another man's child she could be publically judged and then stoned (Deut. 22:23-24). This would kill her and would have killed or aborted the unborn child. Do you realize the devil could have destroyed Jesus before he was even born. Think of how close it came! Only righteous Joseph stood between life and death. But Joseph believed Mary!

    I am sure Joseph did a lot of thinking and praying. When knowledge of Mary's pregnancy got out, there would be much gossip. Would business drop off at the carpenter shop? How could he answer the questions of his other children?

    He undoubtedly thought of Proverbs 31:10 A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her. If Joseph left Mary she would have to raise the child by herself. Maybe this was best. This way the boy would be an only child. The child should be a first born, not a kid brother to bossy step siblings. God could care for Mary. Joseph made up his mind... Matthew 1:19 he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

    He would divorce her on the ground that she did not suit him (Deuteronomy 24:1). He would not drag her through a public trial at the Jewish council. He would be kind. Apparently he slept on it. How wise to give things time to work out. Obviously He was a patient man. While sleeping he had a dream: Matthew 1:20-24 As he considered this, he fell asleep, and an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. "Joseph, son of David," the angel said, "do not be afraid to go ahead with your marriage to Mary. For the child within her has been conceived by the Holy Spirit. And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins." All of this happened to fulfill the Lord's message through his prophet: "Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and he will be called Immanuel (meaning, God is with us)." When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord commanded. He brought Mary home to be his wife.

    Just when Joseph had decided to divorce Mary, he was told to receive her. The Bible says that Joseph "Did what the angel said." Instant Obedience! He had plenty of excuses. But he quickly surrendered to God's will. That is a token of foresight.

    Strong faith in God's will, rarely comes instantly. Joseph had weathered many a crisis by placing each situation in God's lap. Have the faith to place your personal quandary completely into God's hands. The finest Christmas present you can have is the wealth of trust. Trust in God. This can enable you to live a worry free existence.

    Joseph is one hundred percent intent on doing the known will of His heavenly Father. What a wonderful man to be the father of Jesus. A man who loved God so much that God s request is his priority.

    Matthew 1:25 but she remained a virgin until her son was born. And Joseph named him Jesus.

    Joseph and Mary did not have relations until the Baby Christ child was born. Joseph was a man of self control. A man of integrity. You men, submit your life to God. Ask God to make you into a man of worth and true integrity. You women, be willing to do the work of God through your beautiful life. Mary's virginity was an important evidence of her godliness. Sexual purity is highly valued in the Bible. So is sexual fidelity within the marriage.

    Verse 25 says that Joseph named the baby boy (on the eighth day): he called him JESUS.

    I believe this was predicted - Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. This text helps me to believe in the reliability of the Bible. Hundreds of years before Jesus was born the scripture reveals that His mother would be a virgin.

    Modern science uses the word: "PARTHENO/GENESIS." It means "Virgin Born." Did you know that there is a decline in the percentage of people today that believe in the virgin birth of Jesus?

      Friends: if you don't believe in the virgin birth of Jesus, then you don't believe in the deity of Jesus.
    1. He had to have a divine parent. If Jesus is not part God then there is no gospel and we are lost.
    2. He had to have a human parent or He could not be human and a partaker of our flesh. Jesus is the God-man.

    Immanuel means: God would be with us. What if you knew for sure that your baby was the saviour in miniature! Wouldn't that be a challenging motherhood? Imagine the responsibility that rested on the shoulders of Mary and Joseph.

    I believe that the same power that enabled them to properly raise Jesus is available to every mother and father today.

    The Masoretic Text says "he" will call Him Immanuel. A clear reference to Joseph. Immanuel means: "God with Us." Joseph knew the baby would be the Messiah.

    Isaiah 9:6, 7 speaks of Jesus: For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.

    The word Jesus means: Saviour! This baby was born to save all the sinners that ever lived. He was carried in a human womb; protected by a water bag. Jesus was born into a wicked world that had no room for Him, yet He remained pure.

    Just as God placed Himself in Mary's womb and Joseph's hands, God also placed Himself on the cross. Now He wants to place Himself in your heart.

    Jesus ever lives to save those who call upon His name. I know I'm going to heaven, not because of what I have done but because of what Christ has done for me. To have Jesus in your heart is to experience the best Christmas present ever given. Invite Jesus to be born in you and live His life out in your life. Merry Christmas.

    Openning Hymn: 125 Joy to the World
    Scripture:  Matthew 1:18-25
    Closing Hymn: 132 O Come All Ye Faithful
    
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