Zacharias, Mary, Joseph, and Herod all heard God’s message. So what accounted for their different reactions? Zacharias doubted, Mary and Joseph believed, and Herod rejected the message. And each of their responses had significant results.
Sometimes cast aside as a minor player in the retelling of the Christmas story, Joseph’s story mirrored that of his wife in many ways. He sat with her marvelling at this baby. He wondered about the baby’s origin. And yet, Joseph was forced to make a choice that not even Mary had to make. Where Mary carried the baby within her, Joseph had to choose to stay, to involve himself in the baby’s life.
Just beneath the soft, newborn skin of this beautiful story is the flesh and bone of a theological truth that is older than creation: God planned to send a Saviour long before time began.
“Do not be afraid.” We see this phrase recur throughout the Christmas story and it’s easy to gloss over without fully comprehending it.
Mary was a teenage girl. Joseph was an ordinary carpenter. But God chose these commonplace peasants from a backwater town to raise the Saviour of the world. Chuck Swindoll describes how and why God chooses His servants.
The virgin birth circumvented the transmission of the sin nature and allowed the eternal God to become a perfect man. He never sinned, which qualified Him to be a righteous substitutionary sacrifice for sinners.
As Chuck Swindoll assures us in this message, God continues to walk into our lives when we least expect Him, and His surprises still bring relief. When we say yes to God’s will for our lives, God floods our hearts with relief. And, oh, the joy that God’s peace brings to our hearts!
God chose an upstanding couple to raise His only Son and nurture Him. But what a strain was initially placed on their relationship. You might say their romance was saved by a dream.
Two millennia ago, God answered the anguished cry of humanity by making “the problem of evil” His own. God Almighty became Immanuel, “God with us.” He lived as we live, suffered as we suffer, died as we die, yet without sin.
The first few pages in the New Testament contain a list of complicated names. Matthew’s account sounds more like a phone directory than the genealogy of Jesus!