Thursday, December 10, 2015

The Angel's Message for Joseph

(If you haven't read the December 2 Echoes post, please scroll down and read it first.)

Considering, Listening, Obeying

Matthew 1:18-25, The Message Translation

"The birth of Jesus took place like this. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. Before they came to the marriage bed, Joseph discovered she was pregnant. (It was by the Holy Spirit, but he didn't know that.) Joseph, chagrined but noble, determined to take care of things quietly so Mary would not be disgraced.
     While he was trying to figure a way out, he had a dream. God's angel spoke in the dream: "Joseph, son of David, don't hesitate to get married. Mary's pregnancy is Spirit-conceived. God's Holy Spirit has made her pregnant. She will bring a son to birth, and when she does, you, Joseph, will name him Jesus - 'God saves' - because he will save his people from their sins." This would bring the prophet's embryonic sermon to full term:

     Watch for this - a virgin will get pregnant and bear a son;
     They will name him Immanuel (Hebrew for "God is with us").

     Then Joseph woke up. He did exactly what God's angel commanded in the dream: He married Mary. But he did not consummate the marriage until she had the baby. He named the baby Jesus."

What stands out to you in this passage?
What kind of bothers you?
What characteristics of Joseph's humanity are noted?
What fears might Joseph be experiencing?
Imagine a conversation between Joseph and Mary before the dream. 
How do you see Joseph's commitment to God?

What about you ...
     When have you had to share something hard with another close to you? 
     What gave you the courage to proceed?
     Are there circumstances in your life that don't make sense at the moment?
     How are you responding?
     What would it look like for you to bring these circumstances to God?

Joseph is described as "noble", "just", or "righteous"  (depending on your translation).
     Consider the pressure of the situation, not only knowing Mary is pregnant, but also what
     he might be experiencing from his parents or those in his synagogue community. 
          How important was his identity? How did knowing his identity help him?
     What words does God use to describe your identity to you?

Three qualities in Joseph's life stand out: he considered; he listened; he obeyed.
     What are some synonyms for considering? Which communicate the best to you?
     As you consider your current reality, what is God saying to you?
     What will your obedience look like?

The baby is identified by two names in this passage. 
     The first designates what this baby does. 
    The second, who this baby is.
          What are the names?
          Which is most meaningful to you this week? Why?
          What will it look like for you this week to live as if you really believe those names?
          How does the reality of these names infuse you with courage? 

Fill in the blank, and consider praying this prayer ...
     God, I haven't discovered what appears to be my fiancee cheating on me, but this
     situation _________________ is my reality right now. And it is embarrassing. 
     God, what do you think about it? What do you think about me? I want to listen to you.
     What would it look like for me to trust you, God, in this reality this week?
     Thank you that you not only want to save me from it, redeem it, 
     but thank you also that you are my Immanuel. 
     I really do want to obey you. Amen. 

We'd love to pray along with you if you'd like to share what you're hearing.

Please join us next Thursday as we ponder Luke 2:8-20.  


No comments:

Post a Comment