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Joseph, Mary and the Perfectly Perplexing Will of God

by Joe Pursch on December 5th, 2011

In the message series I give to our church every Christmas, I am spending time exploring the ages-long plan that saw its revealing in human history on that first Advent. It was truly the muted but marvelous arrival of His Majesty into the midst of our darkened world.

Even though I have been preaching the great Christmas texts in the Gospels for thirty years, I never tire of the new discoveries I make each season as I review them for my people.  This year, one thing that arrived in my thinking as I preached Matthew’s account of the Virgin Birth was the sense of how the will of God can be both a privilege and a perplexing experience, all at once. It was certainly so for the ultimate First Family, Joseph and Mary. In my message from Matthew 1, I explored the impressive pathway of faith that they both chose to follow in response to the angelic announcement that they were to be the parents of Messiah. Every detail  of the pathway that God laid out ahead of them was perplexing to them. How could such a conception occur, how would they face the ostracism from their families and friends, how could the loneliness and isolation that was to come be lived through, and perhaps most importantly, how could they ever be up to the task of raising the God-Child that Jesus was? The answer was never given by the angel, except to say “Nothing shall be impossible with God.” On that one assurance, this young couple hung their future, and walked into both the privilege and the perplexity of the will of God.

In my message, I applied this challenge to my listeners by drawing out one simple connection that any believer can have with this First Family: a God given responsibility. Each of us has received some kind of God-given role in the world. Some of us are parents, while others are grandparents who have become “parents again” as wayward kids have moved back home. Others of us may not be parents, but we have been given a call to the ministry which (trust me) has a daily dose of perplexity built right in. Still others of us have been led into secular professions that we are clearly gifted for, but which include more stress and pain than we ever planned on, and more integrity battles than we think we can face.

Each of these categories of modern living could be regarded as a God-given responsibility, much like Joseph and Mary’s was to be. And like theirs, ours can come with both privilege and perplexity, and with both favor and fear. And also like Joseph and Mary,  if we don’t fulfill our God-given responsibility, nobody else will. It is our calling, our role. If this is you today, take some time to re-read the story of Joseph and Mary’s determination to walk into the mystery of the call of God. Listen to the message link below. Draw encouragement from the fact that the Gospel  writers show in beautiful ways how with the perplexity of the call God also gave Joseph and Mary a promise that HE was able for all that lay ahead.

Click on the link below to listen:

The Majesty of Christmas Part One The Remarkable Arrival of Messiah Matthew 1.18-25 12.4.11

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