Blessed… A Righteous Man

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ took place. When Mary his mother was engaged to Joseph, before they were married, she became pregnant by the Holy Spirit. Joseph her husband was a righteous man. Because he didn’t want to humiliate her, he decided to call off their engagement quietly. As he was thinking about this, an angel from the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because the child she carries was conceived by the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you will call him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” Now all of this took place so that what the Lord had spoken through the prophet would be fulfilled:

Look! A virgin will become pregnant and give birth to a son, And they will call him, Emmanuel  (Emmanuel means “God with us.”)

When Joseph woke up, he did just as an angel from God commanded and took Mary as his wife. But he didn’t have sexual relations with her until she gave birth to a son. Joseph called him Jesus (Matthew 1:18-25, Common English Bible).

I know this is a matter of opinion and some people might be not agree with me, but with the exception of Jesus himself, Joseph is the most stand-up guy in history.

He finds out his fiance is pregnant with a child that he knows is not his. Most of us would not have been quiet, Joseph was.

Joseph could have had Mary stoned as an adulterer. The thought would at least have crossed our mind. We would know that she deserved it and might even be ready for it to happen. Joseph wanted no part in it. He was ready to simply walk away.

I have had some wild dreams in my life. I have also had dreams where I was pretty sure God was speaking to me. I don’t remember any dreams with angels. If I had one of those dreams, I fear I would have put this one in the first category, a wild dream. I am afraid I would have thought, “This is just a dream” and then ignored it and gone on with my plans and completely ignored God. Joseph didn’t walk away. Joseph heard, he listened, he recognized God as who was giving him direction and he followed to the letter.

Yesterday we talked about Jesus’ genealogy and how he was a descendant of David through Joseph. If Joseph had gone out and made a big deal of Jesus not being his child and then walked away, people would have accepted his story at face value. Mary, at best would have been made an outcast, publicly humiliated and forced to continue living with her family, most likely for the rest of her life. That would have meant Jesus would have had no paternal genealogy and therefore no tie to David. With no tie to David, Jesus could not have been the Messiah.

Some years ago, Michael Card wrote a wonderful song titled “Joseph’s Song. And, while no one can say for sure, I think Card’s lyrics show at least some of what had to be going through Joseph’s head.

How could it be this baby in my arms
Sleeping now, so peacefully
The Son of God, the angel said
How could it be
Lord I know He’s not my own
Not of my flesh, not of my bone
Still Father let this baby be
The son of my love

Father show me where I fit into this plan of yours
How can a man be father to the Son of God
Lord for all my life I’ve been a simple carpenter
How can I raise a king, How can I raise a king
He looks so small, His face and hands so fair
And when He cries the sun just seems to disappear
But when He laughs it shines again
How could it be.

I think my favorite line of the song is, “Lord I know He’s not my own, not of my flesh, not of my bone. Still Father let this baby be the son of my love.”

I have a friend who is helping raise his wife’s children. He may not be their birth father, but if you ask those kids, he is their dad. Could it be that this is how Joseph felt?

Perhaps, but I believe it is even greater. Card’s line in “Joseph’s Song” give credence to an understanding of total humility and a man who had to feel overwhelmed. “Lord for all my life I’ve been a simple carpenter. How can I raise a king, how can I raise a king…”

Today we often hear people say they aren’t worthy. I can’t help but think, Joseph had to have those feelings. Yet despite his unworthiness, he proved to be just the man God wanted and needed.

How has God spoken to you? How have you been exactly what God needed you to be?

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Joy and Peace,
Keith

Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved.

Author:

Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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