Matthew 2:19-23 — There Should Have Been an Ad Campaign, “I Want to Be Like Joseph!” Sure, It Doesn’t Rhyme But Who Cares!

Posted: August 30, 2015 in Gospel of Matthew

Matthew 2:19-23 — You know back in the 90’s there was a ad campaign and I cannot even remember the product but the jingle was “I want to be like Mike”. It featured Michael Jordon – the greatest basketball player the professional game of basketball has ever known. Michael worked hard at his game. And he wasn’t just a scoring machine. He was named several times the Defensive Player of the Year. He had a complete and well rounded game. He was simply the best all around basketballer around. It would be a high goal to be like Mike in anything endeavor. Focus, dedication, tenacity. We would do well to apply ourselves to our vocations the way Michael did.

But today, let’s talking about being like Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus. He is to me the Michael Jordan-esque find of dad. Yes, this message is mainly for dads but I think all can gain some insight from being like Joseph.

Again, here we see Joseph hearing from the Lord in a vision or dream telling him first that Herod The Great had died (4 BC) and second that his son, Archelaus, had been appointed leader of Judea and Samaria by Caesar Augustus. Archelaus was such an evil king that he had about 40 conspiriators killed you removed the Roman eagle from the archway of the temple. Later, he order the killing of 3,000 Jews in the temple during Passover who were protesting against him for having killed the teachers and others who had tried to remove the eagle. He was as bad or worse than his father when it came to ruthlessness. In these two visions, Joseph learned that He needed to return to Palestine but not to return to Bethlehem. There are several things that are striking here but for today we will look at Joseph again hearing from God. It’s like Joseph has a God hotline or something. The dude is connected. But what’s all the more striking is that we know of other biblical characters who fight with God about his commands (Job, Elijah, just to name two) but with Joseph we hear no argument.

Again in this passage as in earlier passages of the first two chapters, Joseph has been given commands from God through his angels and then without question Joseph follows those commands. I think that we can learn several things from these repeated visions of Joseph.

First, I think it a testament to Joseph faith. He was to me a man of great faith. He must have prayed frequently. He must have listened to and possibly read Scriptures repeatedly and often such that God’s Word was hidden in his heart. He must have viewed his life through the filter of how does what I do give God glory. He must have viewed his life through a God perspective. He must have made God a part of his 24/7/365 life. Without this constant focus on God, I think it would have been impossible for him to hear from God directly so frequently. We should do well to have this kind of God focus in our lives. So many of us compartmentalize our faith. We may focus on God on Sunday mornings but we put our faith back in the box and put it on the shelf in the garage until next Sunday. We, particularly as men, think of our workplace as completely separate from God. We do not bring God to work with us. On weekends, we do not make God part of our Saturdays either. Yet, on Sunday, we remember that we have our God box out in the garage, metaphorically speaking. We make demands on God when we do pray on those rare occasions. We do not pray seeking God’s will. We want God to give us what we want rather than us seeking to be compliant with God’s will. Maybe this is why Joseph heard so frequently from God and we don’t. We don’t have laser-like focus on God. We don’t see our lives through a God lens (we see through our own lenses). We do not see God as integrated into every aspect of our existence. Joseph did I bet and I bet this is part of the reason that God entrusted Him with raising Jesus. With us, God will entrust us with little if we seek His will only a little. He will entrust us with more of his kingdom when we trust Him completely and make him a part of everything we do – work, home, play.

Second, in Joseph’s compliance to the will of God, Joseph gave Jesus (even though He was the Son of God) and earthly example of a father who was compliant with God’s will. Surely, in His humanness, Jesus must of thought of his earthly father’s complete willingness to follow God’s commands when was in His ministry years. He probably thought fondly of his earthly dad when praying and communing with His Father in heaven. Joseph was a mighty human example to his earthly children. Not only did He raise the Son of God but Jesus’ little brother, James, went on to become a leader in the early church. Sure, Joseph knew Jesus would become something special but Joseph set the example of a godly man not only for Jesus’ sake but for his other children as well. We should dare to do so well as Joseph as earthly fathers. He was compliant with God at every turn that see of him in the Bible. We may not have the extreme faith of Joseph and we are not charged with raising the child Jesus but we do as fathers have the Word of God at our disposal. May we be like Joseph as much as we can. Let us set examples to our children that we follow the commands of God as laid out in His Word. Let us look back years later and see sons and daughters who do the same because of seeing us as dads following the Word of God even when it was painful to us. Let us be Joseph-like fathers who realize everything we do has a impact on our children and our children’s children. Let us demonstrate to them honest, humble men who are seeking after God’s own heart.

Father in heaven, help me to have the laser-focus on you that Joseph had. Help me to make you a part of everything I say and do. Help me to seek after you daily and by minute. Help me to demonstrate to my family that I am a dad who loves the Lord with all my mind, all my heart, all my soul, and all my strength. Help me to realize that they imitate what they see us as dads do. Let them see an humble servant of the Lord. Amen.

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