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. Let’s examine Joseph’s risky choice and what it tells us about this significant figure in the Christmas story.
One thing quickly becomes apparent to anyone who reads the gospels, the pages of Scripture that contain Jesus' words and actions: no one who heard His words failed to react. Some who listened shook their fists at Him. Others marvelled at a depth of wisdom they'd never heard before. And some believed His words, choosing to follow Him. Whatever the reaction, no one left His presence unaffected by the encounter.
Jesus easily stands as the most influential person in history. Even today, millions call Him Saviour. Why? What was it about His short time on earth that shook the world so? What did He say to grab people's hearts the way He did? Why do so many believe in Him as the Son of God?
Embark on an eye-opening journey into the life and times of this carpenter from Nazareth. Just don't expect to be unstirred after your encounter with Jesus.
Christians need to take time to answer the significant biblical questions people have. And many of those questions have to do with the identity of Jesus. Who is He? Why did He come? What did He teach? How can I connect with Him? These are the same questions asked centuries ago by people who lived when Jesus did. Let’s see how Matthew’s gospel answers these questions.
The teaching of Jesus and the apostles is unmistakable. Heaven is for those who have been saved from their sin by trusting in Jesus. Heaven is not a mythical place for all people regardless of their background.
Many fall prey to the temptation of attending church only on those high Christian holidays such as Christmas and, of course, Easter. Sitting in the congregation only once or twice a year, a visitor might wonder just what all the hubbub is about. An hour-long meeting with a little singing and a little preaching is nice but certainly not life-changing! For most people, that’s probably right, because the life of faith brings change, not through occasionally dropping in on God but through regular commitment across weeks and weeks of seemingly little change.
When was the last time you gave a gift to a loved one expecting a payment in return? Probably never because if you receive payment for a gift, it ceases to be a gift! Likewise, God’s gift of salvation has been freely given. We can’t earn it and He doesn’t expect payment for it. God wrapped His indescribable gift in eternity, equality, deity, and humility. Open it today!
Christ didn’t arrive with the flare of trumpets or with flags flying. He didn’t demand an announcement for whole the world to hear, though He deserved it. Jesus just walked in. Take some time to reflect on the nature of Jesus Christ’s Incarnation—born to peasant a girl in a smelly barn in an obscure town and worshipped by a few people. This humble story reveals the character of our Messiah, who humbled Himself to save the people He loved.
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.
God doesn’t rush. Carefully and sovereignly He works to reveal His glory. From the morning sunrise, which slowly spreads its rays across the face of the earth, to the unfolding of His plan in each of our lives, God takes His time to achieve His will. How unlike us! We are impatient, anxious, and impulsive, wondering why things haven’t happened as quickly as we wish.
Nostalgia. That abnormal yearning within us to step into the time tunnel and recover the irrecoverable. That wistful dream, that sentimental journey taken within the mind—always travelled alone and therefore seldom discussed.
Hopefully we leave the event with a renewed sense of wonder, overwhelmed by the magnificence of what unfolded in Bethlehem long ago. Imagine…