When Jesus Entered My World: Mary & Joseph
When Jesus entered the world of Mary & Joseph, He came as shocking news! How was this all going to play out? Both Mary and Joseph were left to rely on God's protection and provision. In this message, we explore the faith and bravery of this young couple and consider how we can respond to God's wild and risky plans for our lives as well!
Jesus entered the worlds of Mary and Joseph as shocking news! Let’s look at how it happened for both of them.
Luke 1:26-34 (NLT)
In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David. Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!”
Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!”
I imagine Mary, young girl in a remote village, going about her day, doing whatever she is doing – BAM – there’s an angel standing in front of her. Earlier in the chapter, her uncle had a similar experience, but at least he was in the Temple where one might expect such a thing.
Mary’s initial reaction to the angel’s greeting was: “ehm… what… huh?...”
But the angel was so excited about the news he was bringing that he doesn’t wait for her to say anything. Hey, you lucky woman, you are going to give birth to the Son of the Most High! Aren’t you excited? I’m very excited. I’ve been waiting for this since the beginning of time!
Mary was stunned, shocked at this news.
I imagine her pulling herself together, processing what she just heard, trying to make sense of it all – while the angel is looking at her with big eyes full of excitement. Then she manages to produce a whole sentence.
“But how can this happen? I am a virgin.”
Let’s look at Joseph side of the story. His story also starts with some pretty devastating news.
Matthew 1:18-19 (NLT) This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. Joseph, to whom she was engaged, was a righteous man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly.
We don’t know when or how Joseph heard about Mary’s pregnancy, but you can imagine he’d have trouble believing the angel story. The girl he was engaged to was suddenly pregnant, and it certainly wasn’t his, because they hadn’t slept together.
He was shocked to the core…
Here he was, a righteous man, engaged to a girl he thought was righteous and God-honoring as well, and now this…
This engagement was a legally binding contract, nearly equal to marriage. He was betrayed!
Can you imagine the many emotions and thoughts running through his head at this point? The disappointment in someone he trusted, shame that he had been betrayed like this and anger at the stupid angel excuse! I mean… come on! Was she taking him for a fool?
Yet, good guy that he is, he decides to save her from public disgrace, or even the possible the terror of an over religious remote village, and make sure that as little people as possible would know about this – and divorce her in quiet, with only two witnesses needed.
Both Mary and Joseph receive shocking news. Jesus enters their world with a BANG. Unexpected. And with enormous impact on their personal lives– especially for Mary.
Their stories continue.
Luke 1:34-35 (NLT)
The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God.
This is all the explanation Mary is going to get, along with the announcement of another miracle that her aunt Elisabeth is pregnant in her old age. She immediately goes there, possibly to check if she hasn’t gone mad.
My point is, Mary is called to trust and rely on this very wild and shocking and risky plan of God, with many open ends.
There’s no: “Oh, by the way, I’m also going to talk to Joseph, so don’t worry about your engagement and angry townspeople” or anything like that.
The angel drops his news like a bomb, leaving Mary with a beautiful mission and destiny – but also lots of unanswered questions and uncertainties. She is left to rely on God’s provision and protection.
Matthew 1:20-23 (NLT)
As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord’s message through his prophet:
“Look! The virgin will conceive a child!
She will give birth to a son,
and they will call him Immanuel,
which means ‘God is with us.’”
The angel also appears to Joseph – but to him in a dream instead of a waking vision.
The angel explains that Mary isn’t lying, that indeed it was the Holy Spirit that made her pregnant and this is a special child. He will save people from their sins.
Where the message about Jesus delivered to Mary focused more on his position as King, the message to Joseph focuses more on His mission as Savior.
Joseph never had a chance to ask for any clarifications. There wasn’t a conversation, as Mary had with the angel. He was left to rely on a dream.
Both Mary and Joseph submit to God’s plan in a beautiful and exemplary way. In spite of all the complications and uncertainties – they chose to rely on what they heard from God and face the adventure head on.
Luke 1:38 (NLT) Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her.
This is a joyful acceptance of God’s wild plan for her life. She understands the privilege it is to give birth to the eternal King of Israel.
There are a few other Bible characters who were visited by an angel of the Lord. But their responses weren't as faith-filled as Mary's.
Moses had a long discussion with God trying to convince Him he was not the right guy. The LORD gives him different signs and solutions to the objections he raises.
Gideon also has a couple of objections and asks the angel for three different signs before he takes on the plan God has for him!
In Mary’s response, there is no objection or doubt, just faith. She knows that God is trustworthy and is willing to bet her life on it.
Let’s look at Joseph’s response to the dream he received.
Matthew 1:24-25 (NLT)
When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife. But he did not have sexual relations with her until her son was born. And Joseph named him Jesus.
Joseph also submits to God’s plan. He saves Mary from disgrace and possibly worse, and commits to raise the God-child as his own son.
I love how Joseph understands his serving role in this plan of God. Joseph would remain in the background of the whole story. Jesus would, very soon in his life, understand who His true Father was. Joseph was OK with that.
He also was OK with his new wife to be the hero of this story. She was the highly favored woman. His job was to support her and to protect her and the baby. And he was OK with that.
I think that many guys can learn something from Joseph who considered it a privilege to let his wife take the spotlight.
And so, both Mary and Joseph are examples to us in how to respond to the Kingdom of God invading our lives.
Even though it came as a shock, with much uncertainty and personal risk – they were receptive to hear God’s voice and ready to yield to His plans. Their response is faith-filled.
How do we respond to the Kingdom invading our lives?
When Jesus entered the worlds of Mary and Joseph – they received a mission. It was shocking, risky and demanded their trust in God’s provision and protection.
That makes me think of a lot of what Jesus does in our lives as well.
Perhaps that shock is not the first thing that happened when you got to know Jesus, but for all of us there comes a time when Jesus is calling us to live out our full potential, and submit to the plan He has for us.
I think that, if an angel would appear to you today and reveal to you the plan God has for your life, you would be shocked to the core as well. It would shock you, because it will be risky, adventurous and beyond anything you could ever dream.
Most of us won’t have an angel appearance about God’s plan for our lives – but we do have the words of Jesus Himself, and they are shocking enough.
Jesus calls us to be children of God, living in close relationship with God the Father, abiding in His presence.
Jesus calls us to live as His radical followers, anticipating the Kingdom of God. He calls us the light of the world and the salt of the earth. He calls us to love our enemies, turn the other cheek, seek God’s Kingdom above all else, judge not and let go of all self-reliance, self-promotion and self-righteousness.
Jesus calls us to be like a man who finds a pearl, hides it, sells everything he own buy the piece of land he found the pearl on so that he can have it.
Jesus calls us to heal the sick, and deliver people from demonic oppression.
Jesus calls us to form communities of faith that resemble the rich diversity of this world, yet operate in unity.
Jesus calls us to go into the whole world and make all nations to be His disciples – sharing the Good News of His Kingdom with everyone around us!
The very things that Jesus calls each and every one of us to, without any special angelic revelations are shocking, risky, demanding personal sacrifice and leave us in complete reliance of God’s protection and provision.
Mary’s response to her specific calling was: “may all the things you have said about me come to pass”.
Is that a prayer we can pray as well?
Is that a motto we can live by?
Is that a risk we are willing to take?