LESSONS FROM MARY AND JOSEPH

Isa. 7:14 NASB

 

"The Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel."

 

There is an account in the first chapter of John where Philip goes to tell his brother Nathanael that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah.  Nathanael's initial response was, "Nazareth!  Can anything good come from there?"  Did you know that, at the time of Jesus' birth, Nazareth wasn't even on a main road?  Did you know that Mary, the intended wife of Joseph, was a dirt poor Jewish peasant girl, completely unknown to everyone except the few hundred people in the village she called home?  Nazareth was insignificant and its people were insignificant and Mary was certainly insignificant.  Surely God could find a better stage from which to launch the most significant event in human history.  Nevertheless, "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. The angel went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you" - Luke 1:26-28.

 

God doesn't have to do things in ways that seem sensible to us.

 

Mary was shocked by the angel's words.  She hadn't done anything spectacular to earn a role in this drama.  She had no star power.  She had no resume.  She had no merit.  And actually, that's pretty much what the angel said; our English Bibles use the word "favor," but the actual word is "grace."  God chose Mary, not because of her accomplishments, but because of His grace.  But God also knew her heart.  "'I am the Lord's servant,' Mary answered. 'May it be to me as you have said.' Then the angel left her" - Luke 1:38.  Mary believed.  She trusted.  She was willing to obey.

 

God doesn't call great people; people become great because they have been called by God.

 

If we take a look at Joseph we find a similar story.  When he found out that Mary was pregnant, he decided to take a compassionate course of action.  "Joseph, her fiancé, was a good man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly" - Matt. 1:19 NLT.  Again God sent an angel who said, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was 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" - Matt. 1:20-21.  Like Mary, Joseph acted in obedience to the message of God.  You see, neither Mary nor Joseph had any outstanding characteristics except simple faith and obedience.  They weren't great and never intended to be great; they were simply obedient to the calling of a great God!

 

God uses simple ordinary honest people to work wonders

 

So what can you learn from Mary and Joseph?  I believe you should see that God is able to work His will in your life.  None of what happened in this story was according to Joseph's plan or Mary's plan.  They didn't expect it, but they didn't reject it either.  They believed and they trusted and they obeyed, because that is what servants of God do.  And one other thing. . .  God sent one additional message through His angel: "Do not be afraid!"  And that is God's message to you as well.  God's plans for you are good plans and if you believe, trust, and obey Him, you can go forward with boldness and confidence. 

 

--- Pastor Keith Andrews