Weekly Feature



2016-12-07 / Lifestyles

Joseph provides invaluable lesson of faith in action

by REV. JEFF NICKEL
Holy Cross Lutheran Church

“An angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.’

“All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: ‘Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call His name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called His name Jesus.” (Matthew 1:20-25)

Ever since Adam and Eve, everyone has been begotten of a human father and born of a human mother — except Jesus. Although born of a human mother in the Virgin Mary, Jesus wasn’t begotten by Joseph. So Jesus was the “Seed of the Woman” that God promised in Genesis 3:15 and also the son of a virgin as God promised in Isaiah 7:14.

Because Jesus was conceived in this unique way by the Holy Spirit, Jesus was born without sin. Original sin — the sinful nature we each inherit at birth — was not transmitted to Jesus at his birth. Instead, the child born of the Virgin Mary was a “Holy One” (Luke 1:37). During his earthly life, Jesus did not sin, as John, Peter and Paul all confirm. (John 8:46, 1 Peter 2:22, 2 Corinthians 5:21.) In fact, Jesus was the first human since Adam and Eve to be truly human in the way that God intended us to be: pure, holy and immortal.

We die because of our sins and our sinful nature. But sinless, immortal Jesus did not have to die. Yet that same pure and holy Jesus, in whom also “the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily” (Colossians 2:9), took upon his human nature the guilt of our sinful flesh, with all our weaknesses and corruption. He said, “No one takes My life from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again.” (John 10:18). So, out of love for you and me, our Lord voluntarily died for our sins. It was for this purpose that the Son of God took on human flesh.

Before Joseph knew the cause and reason for Mary’s pregnancy, he sought to treat her with justice and mercy. Then, God’s angel revealed to Joseph the unique miracle of the Messiah’s conception by the Holy Spirit. Joseph believed, and then acted upon his belief by fulfilling his God-given responsibilities. This is what faith in action looks like. May our incarnate Lord Jesus Christ keep you in the one true faith now and forever.

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