#5 in a series of 5 Sunday Sermons 12.24.21
In this series we have found reassurances (from the lives of Job, Eliju, Esther, and Daniel) that even though our circumstances may seem to the contrary, we can still find ourselves in the right place at the exact right time.
As we close this topic, we will add the young lives of Mary and Joseph, the parents of Jesus Christ, to those who have lessons to teach us.
#5 – Mary and Joseph – Carriers of Jesus
What were you like when you were in high school? How firm was your faith and trust in Jehovah God? Looking back, would you have considered yourself to be just, or righteous? How often did you attend synagogue, temple or church? Could it have been said of you that you “found favor with God”? Were you a servant of The Most High God? Did you obey God when He spoke to you? Did you do as He told you?
Most scholars believe that Mary was 15-16 years old when she gave birth to Jesus and that Joseph was 20 or so. In our culture, that would have put Mary smack dab in the middle of high school, and Joseph barely out and finding his carreer path. Yet these two, were the chosen carriers of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world.
Could they possibly be in the right time and right place?
Mary and Joseph – Betrothed
” Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin bethothed to a man whose name was Joseph… And the virgin’s name was Mary.”Luke 1:26-27 ESV
What appears to be an ordinary, lowly, and young Middle Eastern couple on the surface reveals something much deeper and extraordinary.
These two were betrothed to one another. They were promised to each other, perhaps even an arranged marriage. The cultural norms of the day made it illegal to be married before 12 years of age or to live with a husband before 12.5. What ages they were isn’t specified in scripture, other than the hint given when Joseph offered 2 pigeons as an offering at Jesus’ dedication. (that suggests that Joseph was 20, as required in the Law).
What we do know is these two were extraordinarily devoted to Jehovah God and therefore we surmise to the covenant of marriage. A few paragraphs ago, I asked you about your high school descriptors, those descriptions – firm in faith to Jehovah God, trust in God, just, righteous, regular temple attendance and celebrations, “found favor with God”, obedient to what God tells you; these are all ascribed to either Mary or Joseph in the Gospel of Luke. These “kids” were in right relationship with God. They knew Him and wanted to please Him and were planning on doing that together in the covenant of marriage.
They were young people of impeccable character and moral fiber. What would have been ok for others to cheat on or lie about was not okay for Mary and Joseph.They were doing things the right way, God’s way, and they were doing it in their youth.
Mary and Joseph – Believed
Mary was just hanging out in her room when this angel appears and says,
” Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you! Do not be afraid Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.
And Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy – the Son of God.”
“And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.””Luke 1:28-38 ESV
Try as we may to understand and apply this to our lives, we will be forever baffled and amazed at this supernatural encounter. When God speaks the impossible to a lowly teenager and when she genuinely and humbly receives it and submits willfully to Holy Spirit’s overshadowing, our minds are blown!
Yet, not Mary’s. She asked how, God told her how, and she said, bring it on God, I am yours. Do what you have said, I trust you.
THIS IS WHAT FAITH IN GOD LOOKS LIKE.
Mary believed God. This high schooler was exactly where she was s’pose to be when Gabriel appeared, heard exactly what God was going to do and believed that God was able to do it in and through her. No doubt Mary was in the right place at the right time.
But how do you explain this pregnancy to your fiancee, family and friends?
Somehow, she found the words and told Joseph about the angelic encounter and the blessing of her womb with the Son of God. His response?
” And her husband, Joseph, being a just man, and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly . But as he considered these things, behold an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ” Joseph, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son and you will call his name Jesus. Joseph woke from his sleep, and he did as the angel commanded him.”Matthew 1:18-21, 24
No doubt overcome with questions himself, Joseph believed God. He beleived the word from the angel and he kept his commitment to Mary and their pending wedding. Joseph believed, too. Together, Mary and Joseph would become the carriers of Jesus Christ and together they believed.
When you each have an angelic visitation, you can pretty much bank on the fact that you are in the right place at the right time, can’t you?
It is interesting to note, that not only did this young couple choose to believe, but there is an elderly couple in this story too, that believed!
Luke 1:7 describes Elizabeth and Zechariah as “both were advanced in years.” That for sure means not young. Hidden away in Mary and Joseph’s young life of being in the right place at the right time, is an elderly couple, also being in the right place at the right time. This elderly couple also believed God’s voice and promise. (Well, Zechariah believed after he didn’t believe. ha!)
Young Mary and Joseph believed. The advanced in years Elizabeth and Zechariah also believed.
Mary and Joseph – Became
Because of their faith, trust, and obedience, Mary and Joseph became the guardians of God. They were to steward if you will, (cuz that’s what all parents are called to do) their child who was really God in the flesh. They became the parents of Jesus. They became the family for Jesus. They became the tutors of God, the man.
This extraordinary, young couple, of impeccable moral fiber and godly character, fervent for temple, Jewish tradition, and Jehovah God were called to become the carriers of Jesus. They have become the cornerstone of Jesus’ earthly family, because they were in the right place at the right time, doing the right things! Therefore, the favor of God rested on them.
I believe that Mary, Joseph and even Zechariah and Elizabeth speak to us clearly of what God is looking for in these days, our days.
- He is looking for those who will be carriers of Jesus to a lost and broken world
- He is looking for those who will believe what He says
- He is looking for young, old and everyone inbetween to believe his word and act on it
- He is looking for those who will become like Him and become the family replacement to the dysfunctional family template of this world
- He is looking for those who are committed to Him, as in betrothed to live and love only him
Now, and into 2022 is the right time to be carriers of Jesus. Now and through 2022, wherever you are is the right place.
Will you be a carrier of Jesus? Now is the time, where you are is the place.
Merry Christmas to you and your family.