Part of the Plan
- 2005 23 Dec
After he had considered these things, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because what has been conceived in her is by the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to name Him Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.” – Matthew 1:20-21 (Holman Christian Standard Bible®)
Just when Joseph was despairing over what he thought was Mary’s unfaithfulness, he had an angelic visitations of his own. And this intrusive angel did a wonderful thing: he included Joseph in the great plan of God. God has a way of taking even critical bystanders and including them in His universal plan.
God asked Joseph to do two things:
* First, he was told to marry Mary. Joseph must have greeted the news that Mary was chaste and pure with great joy. With even greater joy, he heard God’s command to go ahead with his plans to marry.
* Second, he was instructed to name the baby. The task of naming the baby was given to Joseph, even though he was not the natural father of Jesus. He was to name the baby Yeshua, or “God delivers.” God had made it clear: this baby would grow up to be the Savior. Joseph would not only name the child but give the world this promise: Jesus would save His people from their sins.
Nothing is more glorious than being included in the work of God. Joseph went from the despondency of being critical of Mary to the glory of being involved with her in all that God wanted done.
Is this not a great lesson for us? So often in church, those who cause problems may be doing so because they feel they are not a part of what is going on. The way to sweeten such sour discord is to widen the involvement. Take those critical observers and put them on the task force that serves the dreams of God. Many people who become destructive in their moods are just waiting for someone to say, “Would you mind giving us a hand?”
Joseph married Mary by divine command, and he named Jesus by divine command. When God orders our participation in anything – whether it be something as grand as the Incarnation or as simple as serving in the church – we are made valuable both in our own eyes and in the eyes of the world.
Additional Reading and Thought
Read: Ephesians 2:12-22
We live in an age that has lost so much of the sense of community. Remember when we used to bake pies for new neighbors? Where went those Saturdays spent helping others? How much more fulfilling would your Christian life be if you suddenly recaptured the camaraderie of some common cause, the freedom of seeking His kingdom with others who share your Savior?
Lord, grace has saved me and placed me in the bosom of love forever. I must thank You for this grace that gave me something to do in the kingdom of God. I am also grateful for my strategic importance in all that You are trying to accomplish in the world.
Excerpted from The Christ of Christmas by Calvin Miller. Copyright © 2002, Calvin Miller. ISBN 0-8054-9509-6
Published by Broadman & Holman Publishers. Used by permission. Unauthorized duplication prohibited.