Join us today for an episode about the Matthew Christmas Story...

Today's episode is focused on Matthew 1: 18-25...

In today’s spiritual foundation episode, I talk with you about Matthew 1: 18-25.  I share how we are never truly a bystander we always have a choice.  I also talk about how we can see a sign if we only look...

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Episode 1279: Bystander or Actor

[00:00:00] Scott Maderer: Thanks for joining me on episode 1,279 of the Inspired Stewardship Podcast.

[00:00:09] Wendy Gentry: This is Wendy Gentry from Baker University. I encourage you to live your life from the inside out, and one way to be inspired to do that is to listen to this the Inspired Stewardship Podcast with my friend Scott made.

[00:00:33] Scott Maderer: And he ended up doing and choosing to do the kindest thing he could think of. He was planning to divorce Mary quietly to not make a big deal out of it. See, Jewish law at this time gave him a range of options in a case like this.

[00:00:54] Welcome and thank you for joining us on the Inspired Stewardship Podcast. If you [00:01:00] truly desire to become the person who God wants you to be, then you must learn to use your time, your talent, and your treasures for your true calling. In the Inspired Stewardship Podcast, you'll learn to invest in yourself, invest in others, and develop your influence so that you can impact the world.

[00:01:27] In today's spiritual foundation episode, I talk with you about Matthew chapter one, verse 18 through 25. I share how we were are never truly a bystander. We always have a choice, and I also talk about how we can see a sign if we only look. Matthew chapter one, verse 18 through 25 says, now the birth of Jesus, the Messiah took place in this.

[00:01:51] When his mother, Mary, had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit, her [00:02:00] husband, Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to Demi, dismiss her quietly. But just when he had resolved to do 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 as your wife for the child conceived in hers from the holy.

[00:02:20] She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins. All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet. Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel, which means God is with us. When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did us, the angel of the Lord commanded him.

[00:02:41] He took her as his. But he had no marital relations with her until after she had born a son and he named him Jesus. Now there's a lot of interesting things here. We're in the fourth Sunday of Advent the last Sunday of [00:03:00] Advent, and yet there's an entire week before Christmas at this time of the year, and maybe this is a chance to take a.

[00:03:09] A little breath have a little breathing space. Have a little bit of space in our life to reflect on what's been going on in. Other versions of the Christmas story. If you read the version in Luke, Joseph is on the periphery. He basically doesn't really appear, except that they mentioned that because he's from Bethlehem, they go to Bethlehem.

[00:03:37] That's really the only mention. And then later in the Luke, When they go to Jerusalem, for what many assume is a bar mitzvah, Joseph appears as a bystander. Bystander to the service. While Mary does a lot of the acting, she speaks out she includes him cuz she says your father and I. But that's, [00:04:00] Basically about it and it seems to be a setup so that Jesus can say, do you not know I must be in my father's house whenever he's there in the synagogue instead of being where he's supposed to be.

[00:04:13] Joseph really disappears from a lot of the Christmas stories and the stories of Jesus. Mary and Jesus clearly have the starring roles while Joseph is almost a bystand. There as well. Legends of course have grown up around Joseph and stories about him, but there's really nothing definitive other than that.

[00:04:37] He's this bystander to the Christmas story, except here we have Matthew's version, and in Matthew's version, Joseph does take on more of an acting role. He's less of a bystander. In fact, he has somewhat of a central role. While Mary the short end of the stick a little bit. Yet even [00:05:00] here, everything seems to happen to Joseph and he responds to it.

[00:05:05] He's not producing the action. He's responding. And that may actually be part of the reason why Joseph isn't often highlighted in these stories, because we wanna be in control of our life. We want to be taking action, and he appears to be more of a respond. At least that's why we probably buy as many self-help titles as we do and try to map out the directions of our life and take control of it.

[00:05:34] And we get frustrated when things get out of control. And yet when we really think about it, a lot of things are out of our control. All of the. In fact, I think a lot of times I can see myself in Joseph because I often feel like a bystander in my own life, especially around this time of year when everything gets crazy [00:06:00] because of the Christmas season.

[00:06:02] Life happens to me, life happens to my plans, and everything seems to go out of control at times, and we just sit back and watch it happen. This is why we need this example of Joseph. Things were happening to Joseph. His plans were out of control, or at least out of his control. Someone or something else had taken control of his life.

[00:06:32] but he had one thing left. He had the power of choice. He had the chance to make a choice. That's often the thing we overlook. Even when we feel powerless, we still have the power of choice. That's a perspective we can have. Even when things get overwhelming, there's still a choice to be made. Joseph had to decide what he was going to do when [00:07:00] life happened to.

[00:07:01] And he ended up doing and choosing to do the kindest thing he could think of. He was planning to divorce Mary quietly to not make a big deal out of it. See, Jewish law at this time gave him a range of options. In a case like this if Mary had born a child or become pregnant outside of marriage before he married her, he could punish Mary for this breach to the covenant.

[00:07:29] He could have her publicly humiliated because he was in the wrong person. She, he could even perhaps have her stoned to death or driven out of the community, and instead he was choosing to just quiet. Set her aside, the covenant had been broken. The marriage that was legalized but not yet celebrated or consummated could be broken and he could just get out because at least Matthew mentions he's a righteous man.[00:08:00]

[00:08:00] We often think of righteousness, meaning. A do-good or ahol or the thou kind of person, but in the truth in the Bible, the righteousness that's mentioned is a very high concept. It's actually used as a descriptor of God. In fact, it is said, even no one, but God, ise. And yet here we hear Joseph is a righteous man.

[00:08:26] Righteousness in this case means faithful to the covenant, keeping the promise, fulfilling the law. We are obedient to those things. And here Joseph is a keeper of the covenants was going. To quietly let Mary go. In the story of Luke Mary has an angel that shows up right there physically in front of her, and here in Matthew, Joseph gets an angel too.

[00:08:53] But the angel shows up in a dream. And I don't know about you, but I've had some dreams in my life that [00:09:00] I'm not sure if they were from God or if they were from last night's pizza. Would, I wouldn't necessarily trust an angel that showed up in my dream, or at least my first inclination would be to question it.

[00:09:13] But Joseph listens because he is a righteous man. He says, wait, here's a way I can keep the covenant that I've made and honor the commitment I, it's gonna be different in a. This isn't a marriage of love and romantic kinds of things. And in this culture at this time, it was probably more of a business relationship or a business arrangement.

[00:09:39] And yet Joseph shows kindness and love and says, I'll follow through. The child that is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. He believes it with faith. He doesn't shake his head and say, that's outrageous. That's unreal. That can't be true. In. In fact, he says, I'm going to accept [00:10:00] this incredible thing and I'm going to fulfill my end of the bargain.

[00:10:04] I'm gonna do what I need to do as well, that this child that is born to marry will be named by me. In, in these kinds of stories. As we blend them together, they go to Bethlehem because that's where Joseph is from. Presumably he has family there, and yet when he gets there, nobody will take them in. In fact, taking care of your family would've been a high responsibility of hospitality in this time and this culture, this end that he goes and asks to be put up in presumably might have actually been.

[00:10:42] Someone or a family home or owned by family members, and yet they say, Nope, shut the door. Go out there in the manger. Choices are not always easy to make or to keep, and there's consequences to those choices, and Joseph is seeing those consequences [00:11:00] of keeping that covenant presumably. And yet even there, God is at work.

[00:11:04] God is present, God is showing up even in that troubling situation and saying, if you are obedient to me, if you're I obedient to the covenant, if you're able to commit yourself to being righteous, a person of honor, then it's going to work. And in this way, Joseph actually becomes part of the story.

[00:11:26] He becomes a significant part. He becomes a sign of what is to come. He doesn't become a bystander. He becomes an actor acting on God's will in the world. And Joseph calls out and says, I will name this boy Emmanuel. I will name him Jesus. Two names are used here. Jesus. Sometimes translated as Joshua translates, as God saves, and Emmanuel is, God is with us.[00:12:00]

[00:12:00] God saves and God as with us, these names that were given are also signs. Signs of the angel, signs of the Prince of Peace, signs of the choice that we're given to make thanks for listening.

[00:12:22] Thanks so much for listening to the Inspired Stewardship Podcast. As a subscriber and listener, we challenge you to not just sit back and passively listen, but act on what you've heard and find a way to live your calling. If you enjoyed this episode, do me a favor. Go over to steward.

[00:12:48] And like our Facebook page and market that you'd like to get notifications from us so that we can connect with you on Facebook and make sure that we're serving you [00:13:00] to the best of our abilities with time and tips there. Until next time, invest your. Your talent and your treasures. Develop your influence and impact the world.

In today's episode, I talk with you about:

  • Matthew 1: 18-25...    
  • How we are never truly a bystander we always have a choice...
  • How we can see a sign if we only look...
  • and more.....

But just when he had resolved to do 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 as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. - Matthew 1: 20

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About the Author Scott

Helping people to be better Stewards of God's gifts. Because Stewardship is about more than money.

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