Saturday, December 10, 2016

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Annunciation to Joseph
Matthew 1:18-23
 
Rev. Varghese Mathew (Chungathara)
St Stephen’s MTC, New Jersey
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.
 
This is a very important incident in the advent of Jesus Christ. God is selecting Joseph for His plan through Jesus Christ. He was a faithful and righteous man. Mary was legally pledged to be married to Joseph. Like other young girls in Palestine, she was looking forward to marry and to set up her own home, and start her own family. Mary did not anticipate this type of intervention from God in her life. But this incident set Mary and Joseph’s life in a direction they could never have imagined. Mary’s pregnancy was a problem because she was legally pledged to be married to Joseph and this was not Joseph’s baby. Mary and Joseph were in the betrothal stage. Her pregnancy was a just cause for Joseph to apply for a legal divorce. But Joseph was a just, merciful, and kind man for he was unwilling to put Mary to public shame and resolved to divorce her quietly. Joseph could have even pressed for some criminal punishment against Mary but determined not to hurt or shame Mary because Joseph truly loved Mary. And the vision through the angel helped him to accept the reality.  This proves that Joseph was a godly man with a tender heart.
 
    This incident helps us to learn some lessons about our life.  1) God can intervene in our lives at any time and can change our hopes and dreams to conform to His purposes 2) Joseph’s behavior toward Mary is a lesson to us. Our attitudes and how we treat others, our words and actions, show what our hearts are truly like, especially when we are responding while under pressure, under attack, or hurt.  Joseph’s love and compassion for Mary is an example to all of us of the changed heart of a godly man.
 
The angel addressed Joseph as “Joseph, son of David”. The title “son of David” is an important addition to this story. It reminds us that Joseph is in the line of David and it is a hint to the importance of Joseph in the plan of God. Both Mary and Joseph bring Jesus into the line of David. Joseph is faithful to God and to Mary, even in the time of crisis. So Mathew gives a preposition to his name, “righteous man”. Very few people in the Bible have been called righteous. Joseph obeyed the angel’s command to take Mary as his wife and was willing to suffer the consequences of marriage to Mary – shame, misunderstanding, and alienation. This obedience was costly to Joseph but his love for God and for Mary overcame the cost. He gives more importance to the will of God than his happiness, satisfaction, and prestige. His first priority was God and His purpose. It made Joseph  an important part of God’s plan to fulfill the prophecy. God always uses godly, faithful and obedient people to fulfill His purposes. May the Almighty God help us to be faithful, grow in relationship with God and be fruitful.

PRAYER

Loving God help us to be a of Your salvation plan. Strengthen us to overcome all circumstances of our life with love, kindness and mercy. Help us to obey Your commands faithfully for the fulfillment of Your purpose. Amen.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:

Sometimes it’s a painful decision to change our ways. But we have to be obedient to the purpose of God; He invites us to be His co-workers.