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Risky Business–Another Side To The Christmas Story

December 2011
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We’ve all heard the Christmas story of Jesus being born in a manger, but have you ever considered what Joseph must have gone through when he discovered his betrothed, Mary, was pregnant and he knew the baby wasn’t his? I dare say most men would have walked away, and in this particular case if Joseph had walked away, it would have risked the entire mission of Jesus, humanly speaking. However, he was willing to “risk his reputation to participate in and facilitate God’s unfolding drama” (quote from “Our Daily Bread” reading for December 10, 2011).

For today’s post, I offer no commentary but rather will share this particular and oftentimes overlooked portion of the Christmas story with you taken from Matthew 1:18-25 along with posting the devotion from Our Daily Bread for December 10, 2011, written by Joseph Stowell.

Matthew 1:18-25 The Birth of Jesus Christ

18 This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

 20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”—which means, “God with us.”

 24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.

“On some of the Christmas cards you will receive this year, no doubt there will be a man standing in the background looking over the shoulder of Mary, who is prominently displayed caring for the baby Jesus. His name is Joseph. And after the nativity narratives, he isn’t heard from much again. If we didn’t know better, we would think Joseph was an insignificant bystander or, at best, a mere necessity to undergird Jesus’ claim to the throne of David.

“But, in fact, the role that Joseph played was strategically important. If he had disobeyed the angel’s command to take Mary as his wife (Matt. 1:20), he would have, from a human perspective, put the entire mission of Jesus at risk. Taking Mary as his wife was a risky assignment. Public perception that he was the baby’s father put him in serious violation of Jewish law and made him a public disgrace. Yet today all of us are thankful that he was willing to risk his reputation to participate in and facilitate God’s unfolding drama.

“Most of us are insignificant compared to the major players in this world. But all of us are called to obey. Who knows what God has in store when we are willing to surrender to God’s will—even when it puts us at risk!” –Joe Stowell (from “Our Daily Bread” for December 10, 2011).

When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word,
What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do His good will, He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey. —Sammis

It’s no small thing to trust and obey.

Let me close with this thought–what would we be willing to risk our reputations for if we knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that it is what God wants us to do? Indeed, as Joseph Stowell stated at the end of his devotion, “Who knows what God has in store when we are willing to surrender to God’s will–even when it puts us at risk!”

Are you willing to risk it all for God?

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