Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Shepastor: “When God Speaks Even Those Who Didn’t Get it Will: A Holy Week Meditation”

Matthew 1:18-25
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

The Birth of Jesus the Messiah

18 Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah[a] took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. 20 But just when he had resolved to do 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 as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:

23 “Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall name him Emmanuel,”
which means, “God is with us.” 24 When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife, 25 but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son;[b] and he named him Jesus.

There’s no confusion here…this is not Advent, I know. It’s Holy Week. However, this passage of scripture spoke to me this morning…Jesus’ earthly mother, Mary endured her husband not “getting it.” She was in an extremely difficult situation. The angel of the Lord visited her and told her that something seemingly impossible was going to happen to her – something that would interfere with her plans for her life, something that would interfere with her relationship with her beloved fiancé, something that would interfere with her reputation. Something, however, that would revolutionize, and bring salvation to the world. Yet Mary boldly declared, “Behold the handmaiden of the Lord…be it unto me according to thy word.” (Luke 1:38, KJV)

Joseph too was in a challenging situation. What would people think? What if the baby didn’t look anything like him? How could his betrothed do this? Was he being taken for a fool? What about his own reputation? He just didn’t get it! He devised a plan to “put her away privately.” He loved her too much to publicly expose her. But even though he didn’t get what was happening, the Lord sent an angel to “make it plain.” And so the Lord sent us our Savior through a humble woman of great faith and a man who, understandably didn’t “get it” initially, but ultimately listened to the LORD and obeyed.

Maybe the Lord has spoken some things to your heart that others don’t get. Maybe God’s plans for you appear so outrageous that those near and dear to you are tempted to, “put you away privately!” Maybe God’s vision for your life is so seemingly impossible that you are fearful to follow…fearful that if you step out you may ruin your reputation, lose something dear, cause you to look foolish. If so, remember, great things are rarely accomplished in the comfort zones of life.

I encourage you to consider what God did for Mary and Joseph…He took two ordinary individuals, two people who initially responded in two different ways and ultimately brought them together – giving them the grace to receive the miracle He had, not only for them, but for us.

During this Holy Week, may we trust that those who need to partner with us in receiving God’s miracles will “get it” when the LORD speaks…even if at first they consider putting us away! May you be reminded in a special way this week of the victory available to you through the power of the resurrected Lord.

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Until next Wednesday,
In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,
Pastor Chris

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