Doing God’s Will When It Ain’t Easy or Convenient: Mary/Joseph Road Trip!

Posted: November 7, 2014 in Uncategorized
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Luke 2:1-17 — This passage is powerful in its straighforward simplicity. On the surface, it speaks no powerful theological message directly, but when you take this passage apart it speaks loudly.

First, as we have discussed before, Jesus broke into the world in a real way. He is not some mythical figure. The Roman emperor was a real person at the head of a real empire. There had been some belief that Luke messed up the dates about when the census was taken but it has sense be proven true. Every couple of years there is a new discovery that verifies a fact in the Bible that had been previously held to be untrue. I read recently that oceanic archaeologists have found the remains of Egyptian armor at the bottom of the Red Sea that date to the time of the Exodus in the Bible. So, these facts add fire to my faith. The Bible is not just some fantasy, it is couched in history. The Jesus I believe in is a real man who actually existed. The fact that He is the Son of God is where my faith has to take me the last mile but the Christian faith is historical and based in real facts and events. You don’t have to lose your mind to be a Christ follower. There is a reasonableness to the faith. There comes faith to believe that Jesus was God in the flesh and that He willingly died on the cross for my sins. However, this faith of ours is so reasonable, there is not one person on earth that doubts Jesus’ existence – even atheists.

Second, we notice that Joseph and Mary did not have an easy road here. It seems that their life got harder with the need to return to their ancestral home. Slow arduous travel with a pregnant, tender teenage girl was not Joseph’s idea of a good time. They would have traveled slowly. It was not hopping in the car for them. This was a considerable task that some of us forget when we read the Christmas stories in the Bible. Although today, by modern roads, it about 70 miles from Nazareth to Jerusalem. But back in the day without modern roads and accounting for the terrain between the two towns, it may have taken the up to 100 miles. Think about making that trip on foot or on a donkey with a pregnant teen almost at full-term. Sometimes we like to sanitize this story and make it seem that bam they got up made the journey. No sweat. I bet this was a considerable decision for the two. Even though they were bearing the Christ Child and both had displayed great faith in accepting their roles, their life did not necessarily get easier. In fact there life was pretty rough there at the beginning. They had to go to Bethlehem, a long arduous journey. They had to give birth in a cave meant for keeping animals at night. They had to escape to Egypt when Jesus was very young. They had to live their for several years. Not exactly what seems like our life getting better as a result of our acts of obedience to the Father. This reminds us that sometimes we will face hardship as believers even when we step out in faith. We must remember that God will allow events to happen to us to determine how dedicated we are to Him. Are you willing to do whatever it takes to do God’s will are will you wimp out when it is no longer convenient? Joseph would chuckle at our lack of faith. He became a world traveler because of his acts of obedience. Do you have the resolve to follow wherever Christ leads? Do I have what it takes when it comes down to it? Do I push through adversity or do I wimp out. If God can’t trust us with a little, He will not trust us with much.

The final thing that you see here is the contrasts between human authority and God’s authority. Jesus came into the world as a mere baby. He seems awful weak compared the human authority of the mighty Roman Empire. The Romans were in control of much of the known world at the time. Joseph and Mary controlled little. Jesus was a mere baby. Augustus Caesar was the ruler of much of the world. The contrast makes Jesus and Mary and Joseph seem like a speck on a flea on the biggest dog. However, Jesus changed the world. He changed the Roman Empire. How many people remember that Augustus Caesar was the first emperor of Rome – when Rome converted from a republic to an empire. How many people remember what Augustus said, thought, and felt. 2,000 years later people know what Jesus said felt and did. The number of people’s lives that Jesus has touched in the last 2,000 years is astounding. Augustus Caesar sounds kind of puny in comparison. The church lives on today. The Roman Empire is gone. The Roman emperors after Augustus tried to do things that assured their remembrance for generations. Do you remember any Roman emperor with the same emotion as you do when you remember Jesus. The humble baby is exalted. The proud empire is brought low. How this gives us hope. When we are down and out and thinking the world has crapped on us, we know that our faith is eternal, our circumstances are temporary. Things of this earth pass away, but Jesus is forever.

Father, Father, thank you for the obedience the faith of Joseph and Mary. They are inspirations to my faith. They were obedient to you in all circumstances. They suffered great hardships in making sure that the Christ Child was born where He was supposed to be born, that He survived into adulthood and began His ministry that changed the world forever. Help me to remember that doing your will is not always easy and convenient. Help me to remember that it may downright hard and excruciatingly difficult to do your will. Help me to remember that things of this life are temporary and that doing your will is of eternal benefit. Help me to know that choosing earthly convenience over doing your will is so very short sighted. Help me to remember that you offer eternity with you to those who are submitted to you and strive to do your will no matter the circumstance. Amen.

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