(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)
Yes, this is Joseph’s story…….when Mary told him she was pregnant! Joseph was to be entrusted with being the earthly father of God’s Son. And the Lord had work to do on this man before he could receive this gift of of Jesus. This work involved getting the package ready!
- The package, in this case, was the family into which Jesus was to be placed.
- The package, in a wider sense, is everyone who receives the Son of God as Savior!
Here is the redacted Scripture of Matthew 1:18 through 25:
After [Jesus’]...mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph ...she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph...not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph... do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” ...Then Joseph...did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, and ...she...brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name Jesus.
Joseph was a carpenter by trade. He had a small shop in Nazareth, about ninety miles north of Jerusalem. He was a commoner in Israel, not one of the elite, such as a member of the Sadducees, the Pharisees, or the teachers of the Jewish law. But he had been schooled growing up, and he was familiar with many of the laws in the Pentateuch.
- He was in love with a young maiden named Mary who also lived in Nazareth. They were betrothed (engaged) to be married in the near future!
✡ Betrothal was a serious commitment! It could only be broken by a divorce! ✡ But Joseph had no plans of a divorce with this beautiful young woman.
- But suddenly Mary went away! And she was gone for more than three months!
✡ What Joseph didn’t know was that Mary went to see her older cousin Elizabeth who had become pregnant six month’s earlier. Eliz- abeth and her husband Zacharias lived in the hill country of Judah. ✡ Although Scripture doesn’t say, it seems Mary wanted the comfort of a godly woman who was also pregnant, and would under- stand Mary’s situation! ✡ Mary stayed with her cousin until after Elizabeth’s baby was born. The baby grew up to be John the Baptist!
- When Mary finally returned, she told Joseph she was pregnant……pregnant by God’s Holy Spirit! And she would deliver the long-awaited Messiah into the world!
✡ For the angel Gabriel had told her... “...behold, you will conceive...and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest, and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.” (Luke 1:31 through 33). ✡ But Joseph couldn’t believe her! In his mind, the only explanation was that Mary had been unfaithful!
- Joseph was “…a just man…,” and he knew what he had to do! (just meaning “…upright, righteous, virturous, keeping the commands of God…;” Thayer’s Greek Definitions).
✡ He may have recalled the words of the Syna- gogue’s rabbi, reading Leviticus 20:10: “...the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.” ✡ But Joseph just couldn’t have Mary put to death! So, “...not wanting to make her a public example, [he] was minded to put her away secretly.” (Matthew 1:19). ✡ He would break their betrothal and send her away to have her baby......... away from Nazareth, away from threat of death, away from his life, away from his heart!
But God had other plans!
- …plans to ‘get the package ready’
✡ ...to prepare Joseph to receive both Mary and her baby! ✡ ...to be a husband to his wife, and a father to Jesus!
- Matthew 1:20 and 21:
...while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph...do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
- This was an angelic message from God Himself! It was settled! The package was ready! “…Then Joseph…did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, and…she…brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name Jesus.” (Matthew 1:24 and 25).
God had to ‘get the package ready’ for His Son to be born into the world. But this first advent was not the only instance of the Lord working to ‘get the package ready’!
- I John 5:1 – “Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God….”
✞ What does it mean to “...believe...that Jesus is the Christ...”? ➔ It means believing that He is the Messiah, the One promised to Israel to redeem them and the whole world from the ravages of sin! ➔ It means believing the Old Testament promises, such as Isaiah 9:6 and 7: For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the govern- ment will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the in- crease of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judg- ment and justice from that time for- ward, even forever. ➔ It means believing the many New Testament Scriptures concerning our acceptance of Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord! Here are four: John 11:27 – “...I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” Acts 16:31 – “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved ....” Romans 10:9 – “...if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” I John 5:11 and 12: ...this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not the Son of God does not have life. ✞ God, through His Holy Spirit, works in unbeliev- ers’ hearts to prepare them to receive the gift of... ➔ ...salvation through Jesus Christ! ➔ ...being born into God’s family!
- There is another package preparation in the lives of Christians that God is continually working on!
✞ God, through His Holy Spirit, dwells in every Christian believer! ➔ I Corinthians 3:16 – “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” ➔ I Corinthians 6:19 and 20: Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you are bought with a price; there- fore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s ✞ Jesus told His disciples in John 14:16, “...I will ask the Father, and he shall give you an- other Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever, even the Spirit of truth....” ➔ The Holy Spirit is... ...the indwelling seal of God, that “...He who has begun a good work in you will complete it un- til the day of [the return of] Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6). “...the Comforter...” (John 14:6 – above). According to M. R. Vincent’s Word Studies, Comforter is the Greek word, αράκλητος (pronounced par-ak’- lay-tos, and meaning “one who is called to another’s side to aid him ...”). “...another...” in the Greek is ἄλλος (pronounced al’-los, and, ac- cording to Vincent it means, “The advocate who is to be sent is not different from Christ, but another similar to Himself.” ➔ So much so is the Holy Spirit just like Jesus that, when it is the Spirit who in- dwells us, Paul, in Colossians 1:27, could say,“...Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
- The question is: Are you a ‘prepared package’ (container, temple, dwelling place) for Jesus Christ to live in you?
✞ None of us are good enough to provide the perfect dwelling place for our Savior, to live through His Holy Spirit! ✞ That is why God is still working on us... ➔ ...to refine us! ➔ ...to take away our sinful tendencies that ‘dirty up’ God’s package! ➔ ...to become what Paul wrote in Ephesians 2:19 through 22 (Bible in Basic English): ...you are numbered among the saints, and of the family of God, resting on the base of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the chief keystone, in Whom all the building, rightly joined together, comes to be a holy house of God in the Lord; in whom you, with the rest, are united together as a living-place of God in the Spirit. ✞ He is ‘getting the package ready’!
He is getting YOU ready, Christian…
to be a more glorious ‘package’
to house Jesus Christ
through His Holy Spirit!