When was the last time your mind was gripped on something that you could not stop thinking about? What it something someone said? What it someone who hurt you or hurt a loved one? Was it a fascinating story or an unforgettable event?
As I was reading the Christmas story in Matthew, one phrase gripped me. One phrase captured my attention. One phrase would not get out of my mind. One phrase that I think Jesus wanted me to think about. So, I did. I let it grab hold of me. I went with it like a helicopter harness. It took me for a ride.
The one phrase is "he did not want to disgrace her publicly."
The whole verse reads, "Because Joseph, her husband, was a righteous man, he did not want to disgrace her publicly, he had in mind to divorce her quietly." v 19
When someone hurts you, betrays you, publicly humiliates you and your family, how do you respond? What is in your heart? When you have been unfairly treated, don't you want to expose them for their poor decisions, actions and motivations? Don't you want to hide your pain and expose their wrongdoing?
Not this Joe. Not this man who was chosen to be the stepfather of the Messiah.
Joseph wanted to protect Mary. Joseph wanted to hide her wrong doing, her shame, her sin. He did not want to disgrace her. He wanted to grace her. (We know that Mary did not need this but Joseph didn't know that.)
Who does this sound like?
Do you remember when a family ran out of wine and was about to be publicly humiliated, Jesus stepped in. Jesus did not want to disgrace this family publicly.
Do you remember when the religious leaders brought Jesus the woman caught in adultery, Jesus stepped in. He said, "Those without sin, cast the first stone." Jesus did not want to disgrace her publicly.
Do you remember when Adam and Eve disobeyed God's warning about the fruit that leads and ends in death? God stepped in. He put their sin on an animal and it paid the price of their sin. Then God covered them. God did not want to disgrace them publicly.
Do you think God chose wisely who to be the stepfather of Jesus? Joseph encourages me. Joseph inspires me. Joseph sounds a lot like his step - Son, his Savior, his Messiah, his Lord.
I need someone like Joseph to treat me like that. To know my sin, and then to have the true desire not to disgrace me publicly.
Do you want people like that in your life?
I want to be like that. Do you want to be like that?
Thank God, Jesus is that.
Let's worship Jesus afresh this Christmas season. Let's start by letting this beautiful, rare and life-changing characteristic grip our minds like a song that we cannot get out of our head. Let's let it grip us to the point, Jesus transforms us to grow in this characteristic.
May each of us not want to disgrace the people in our lives publicly.
Encouraged by no average Joe,
How would you describe your current prayer life?
Rich. Quick. Short. Oops maybe later. Distant. Talkative. One way.
Have you ever described it as Listening?
The Masterful Teacher, Jesus, loved to give images that lingered in our minds to remind us of some powerful truths that can enrich our lives and relationships. "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me." John 10:27 Daily, people saw, experienced and interacted with shepherds. If anyone stopped and watched for a few moments, they would have seen how each shepherd uniquely communicated with their sheep. The sheep clearly recognized their shepherd's voice and ignored other shepherds. One word, signal, call from the shepherd would catch the attention of the sheep. The sheep would respond, follow and go where the shepherd communicated.
Has your prayer life grown to the point you clearly recognize Jesus' voice? All of us have so many voices in our heads; advertisements, teachers, parents, temptations, ourselves and Jesus. Can you tell the difference? Can you recognize the world's voice, our own voice, the evil one's voice, Jesus' voice?
How do you respond to these voices?
How do you respond to Jesus' voice these days?
Are you listening?
Is He saying come, sit, let's talk?
Is He saying something you have been avoiding for awhile?
Is He saying someone's name whom He wants to serve and care for through you?
Is He saying a place He wants you to be in His presence?
Is He saying...
Are you listening?
One of my personal life missions is to hear Jesus' still small voice and then to have the courage to do what He says.
Too often, I miss or do not take the time or I assume Jesus' voice. I need those regular reminders that Jesus is always seeking to sit and talk with me. The big question is, will I pull up a chair, listen and then risk to do what Jesus is sharing... How about you?
Seeking to listen today,
Pastor Chris Reinertson enjoys all sports, especially those involving a ball. He loves to hang out with people and challenge them to be Jesus REVolutionizers.