Have you ever considered that the man who spent more time with Jesus than any other person, and the man who took Him to the only foreign country He ever entered (see Matthew 2:14), and the one man who raised Him as a child and a young man – was an incredible person by the name of Joseph?
During the Christmas season we almost always hear about the mother of Jesus, Mary. Yes, she played a very important part in the life of Jesus. Although Joseph is mentioned, he is seen as merely a footnote to the story. But actually, Joseph carried a greater responsibility than the Old Testament man bearing the same name. Why?
The great responsibility he carried, along with Mary, was that he daily raised this child and influenced Him more than any other man on earth. Imagine having the Son of God in your house every day. I'm sure Joseph did not realize the burden he was carrying by raising Jesus. If he had, he most likely would have (to say the least) been overwhelmed. Yes, he knew this child was special because of the circumstances of His birth; but the full impact this Child would make in the world surely eluded him.
Sometimes God hides His complete plans to protect us from going forth with them, knowing they could be too much to handle (see John 16:12). Joseph was not the physical father of Jesus, only the step-father. His real Father was God. Although we know Jesus was fully God and fully human, God felt He needed a human father also. Joseph was that man (see Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 1:27).
Yet, it was an amazing time of personal crisis for Joseph. During the time of their engagement, Joseph learned that his bride-to-be was pregnant and he knew that the child was not his. This came as a staggering blow to him, and observing his reaction is a telling indicator of what kind of man he really was.
Sometimes God's Instructions Are Not Easy To Obey
Joseph had nothing more to go on than Mary's word and the testimony of a dream (see Matthew 1:20). Joseph took a pregnant woman, with a child not his own, to be his wife.
There were several hard adjustments he had to make. When Joseph had to comply with the Roman census, and took Mary and the Child to Jerusalem, he had to put up with gossiping tongues. He had the good sense to know not to expect others to believe the story. This says that Joseph was not just a decisive man, but a very sensitive one too. He had the faith to trust God in an impossible situation that others would have backed away from. He wants you to have that kind of faith too.
Joseph was profoundly aware of what was going on around him, but he had the courage to act on God's word and not to listen to those who did not understand what God was doing. He trusted in Mary, in the angel's word, and in God. Trust in God's promises, no matter how outlandish they may sound.
God Entrusted The Child Jesus Into The Hands of One Man: Joseph
Imagine the responsibility on his shoulders, having to raise the Son of God in his own home. It's amazing to me that God would entrust this Child not to some powerful angel or some mighty prophet, but into the care of an unassuming man. Think of the atmosphere that Jesus experienced while growing up in that household. This was an earthly father who apparently was so full of faith and righteousness (see Matthew 1:19) that God said, "This man can do the job."
God also thinks of you in the same way. He looks at you like He did Joseph and says, "You can do this, you can do what I have called you to do. I have that same kind of confidence in you." Our Father, in His infinite wisdom, looked down on this earth and selected a man named Joseph to be the husband of Mary and the step-father of Jesus. This was no small matter.
And then there was another matter that many overlook. When the angel appeared to Mary, he said, "...you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus"(Luke 1:31). In those days, the mother had no say in the naming of the child. That was the father's call, and Mary knew it. So, when Joseph was having doubts concerning Mary's pregnancy, he also had a dream. After assuring Joseph that this indeed was from the Holy Spirit, the angel instructed him to "call His name Jesus" (Matthew 1:21).
Think about this. First, Joseph was told to go through the embarrassment of having to marry a woman who was already pregnant. Now, he's told to give the child a name not of his own choosing or from his own ancestry, but a name foreign to him. Joseph, having already been told to do a hard thing, could have thought, "You know, I've done more than I can take. I'm at least going to name this child after me...Joseph."
Can you imagine if he actually did that? It might sound comical, but can you imagine the "name above every other name" being Joseph? Or casting out demons in the name of Joseph? Sounds absurd, right? But Joseph was obedient in everything God instructed him to do. Dear one, 99% obedience is disobedience. Joseph was a man of obedience and righteousness (see Matthew 1:19).
Joseph Was Open To The Incredible – You Must Be Also
So first, Joseph wanted to put Mary away privately when he found out she was pregnant. Again, listening to an angel in a dream explain "that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit," he took Mary along his side (Matthew 1:20-21). This was unheard of at that time and culture. Jewish penalty for this was public stoning. Because Joseph was a man of faith, he took the risk of staying with Mary. This was an incredible stance he was taking by believing an incredible promise. This was uncharted territory. In the coming year, God wants to take you into uncharted territory.
But as for you, be strong and courageous, for your work will be rewarded. 2 Chronicles 15:7
Again, he knew that he would receive criticism and humiliation all of his life. Neighbors would point and talk about him. His entire family would be laughed to scorn because of this child. It had to be extremely hard for Joseph. But because Joseph was open to the incredible, Mary had a help mate while she conceived the Son of God.
This man had great faith. He believed God, and because he did, Mary didn't have to do this alone. He was open to the implausible; the amazing, and even the far-fetched. That's where God wants to take you.
If we really want to participate with God and His purposes in these last days, having faith in uncharted territory is essential. If we do, people observing us will say, "...insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, 'We never saw it on this fashion'" (Mark 2:12b). The problem is this: People have seen the same old thing time and time again. God wants to do incredible things, not for the sake of people immaturely gawking or slobbering after signs, but to demonstrate how incredible God is.
There is a children's movie called "The Incredibles." We need to take the incredible out of the fantasy world and put in back into the Church. Child of God, you are an incredible creation put here to do incredible things. Incredible things are about to happen. Be prepared to enter a new level of faith. The incredible is coming in your life, your family, and your Church. Will you believe for it? Get ready to conceive...
Celebrating His Life
Celebrating His Life
Al and Sherry Thomas travel extensively in America and Southeast Asia. Al and Sherry have a prophetic and healing anointing and have seen many miracles. They founded Celebrating His Life Ministries in 1997 and are gifted teachers of the Word. Prior to that date they served at Mount Hope Prison Ministry for three years. Al has pastored in Wisconsin and California and was associated with evangelist Jim Spillman, a great man of God who was known for miracles happening in his meetings. Al has walked in the healing anointing since 1997. They have seen blind eyes healed, deaf ears opened, and many other healings. They minister gently and practically, with no fanfare or dramatics. They currently minister in approximately sixty churches a year.