Joseph’s Journey

“When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.” Matthew 11:24 NIV

Like everybody who says “yes” to God, Joseph could not begin to comprehend the implications of such a divinely inspired decision. Unknowingly he was signing up to embark on a sacred journey of trust into uncharted territory. Not unlike Bilbo Baggins answering Gandolf’s invitation in The Hobbit – An Unexpected Journey, it would take Joseph places he could never have imagined going, both in the natural and more importantly within his own soul. Had he or Bilbo known what the journey held in store, they would probably have stuck with their initial “No.”

Joseph’s acquiescence must have led to great anticipation as he and Mary settled into life together in his home and prepared for the birth of the child. Undoubtedly he was breathing a sigh of relief thinking the “big” decision was now behind him. He was surely enjoying the new found sense of peace and freedom from the recriminations of initially feeling betrayed by Mary.

Answering God’s call ultimately bids us to venture beyond the comforts and predictability of home. And unlike Lot’s wife we had best accept that eventuality right now; as there is no profit in lingering or looking back. Unbeknownst to Joseph, nearly 1500 miles away in Rome, a decree was being issued that would subsequently make its way by courier to his little village of Nazareth at the far eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea.

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Meet the third Christian

When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. Matthew 1:24 (NIV)

You may not have realized it, but Joseph was the very first Christian. Now stop and think about it. Becoming a Christian might best be defined as accepting Jesus as both the Savior and Lord of ones life. And that is exactly what Joseph did when he agreed to take Mary home as his wife.

The angel that appeared to Joseph in the dream informed him of two things. He told him that Mary, his fiancé, had conceived by the Holy Spirit and was pregnant. And he told Joseph that the child within her womb was named “Jesus” the promised savior of the world.

“Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” (vs. 20-21)

Joseph’s acquiescence to the angel’s command to take Mary home as his wife was in essence and more importantly an assent to take Jesus home as well.

Accepting Jesus as the one who saves us from our sins is an act of faith. It is rooted in the belief that such forgiveness and the resultant transformation in our lives are really possible. It took tremendous faith on Joseph’s part to accept the fact that this Jesus, whom he had not yet seen, was the Messiah the scriptures had promised would come and the one who would make all things new. When he agreed to take Mary home, he was explicitly taking Jesus home as well and implicitly putting his faith in Jesus as his savior. His acceptance of Jesus as the Christ sets him apart as the first human being ever to do so.

But to me, the even more remarkable aspect of Joseph’s response was his acceptance of Jesus as his Lord. It has been said that most people want salvation and the forgiveness of sins, but few want lordship. To yield ones life to the rule and lordship of another call for the total surrender of ones will.

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