Devotional | Charity Bumpas | Oct 15, 2023
Do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins. Matthew 1:20-21But whoever would be great among you must be your servant. Matthew 20:26-27Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. Matthew 6:1
Do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins. Matthew 1:20-21
But whoever would be great among you must be your servant. Matthew 20:26-27
Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. Matthew 6:1
Can you believe it’s almost Christmas? Yes, Christmas is only 71 days away from today! So as I prepare for the Christmas season, I am prayerfully taking a deeper look into how each character in the nativity shaped and framed what we know to be true. But I also wonder how those we might not see in the nativity were part of the story in the surrounding months and days leading to the arrival of Jesus. Through this journey, we will see the deep contrast between two of the characters: how they respond to the coming Messiah, how they take their place in history, and the characteristics that define them.
So let’s consider the lives of King Herod and Joseph …
Herod the King was a builder on a massive scale with all the luxuries money could afford. Herod desperately sought admiration, praise, and acceptance from others. He loved wealth and power and was constantly working to prove his greatness in hopes of taking a place in history. His desire was to be the one and ultimate reigning king. Once Herod received word that the promised Messiah, King of the Jews, would take his place, he ordered all the children under two years old to be killed in Bethlehem and surrounding places in hopes to change what God had planned.
Joseph was a carpenter who quietly went about his life in humility and honor. He was an ordinary man but had a servant’s heart. He remained loyal to Mary and God’s calling on his life even though he was likely embarrassed and ridiculed. From what is documented about Joseph in the Bible, we can gather enough to see the characteristics of why God chose him. Joseph lived a life of simplicity; he did what God asked of him and played a significant role as an earthly father to Jesus. He was a protector and kept his promise to Mary despite all the consequences of her being with child. Matthew 1:20-21 says, “Do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” Joseph trusted the Lord and was willing to walk in faith even in a confusing and painful situation.
King Herod lived in a palace on a hilltop overlooking Bethlehem. In all his splendor, he desperately wanted to have power and make an immortal mark on people. In contrast, Joseph, a simple carpenter, lived in humble conditions among the people. He had no such desire to change the world. But little did he know that he would be part of a plan that WOULD change the world.
In Herod’s death, all that was left were the ruins of monuments, and he was remembered for his self-indulgence and self-centeredness. Joseph however didn’t leave any monuments but remained a very important person in Jesus’ life. There is not much recorded in history of his words spoken but we do know that he humbly served God and others. I imagine Joseph being the earthly father of Jesus had many moments of teaching and living out an example to Jesus. Matthew 20: 26-27 says, “but whoever would be great among you must be your servant.” Could this be an example of the legacy Joseph left to Jesus?
So in this contrast of characters, one can conclude God favors those who are humble and willing, rather than those who are proud and self-seeking. In Matthew 6:1 we read, “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for you will have no reward from your Father in heaven”
I believe we can all find similarities to both characters, and I would venture to say our desire would be to identify with Joseph if given a choice between the two — to be a humble servant and obedient to God’s call. Yet in our human nature, we can quickly take on characteristics of King Herod and find ourselves desperately wanting recognition, affirmation, and to be noticed for the good things we are doing.
The places God calls us and how he works in our lives can be unexpected, challenging, and sometimes confusing, but every mission has a purpose. We may never receive accolades and recognition. We may feel like what we are doing is not significant, but let’s be reminded of who we serve and that we serve out of nothing more than fulfilling God’s glory. At the end of our journey, our legacy is how we allowed God to work through our lives.
Lord, we thank you for your kindness and mercy to us. We know you love us deeply in the good and bad. You know our selfishness desires, and we ask that you would remind us of the gifts we have been given and why you have trusted us with them. We ask that you would give us the heart of Joseph, give us the desire to remain faithful to your call even if we don’t understand or receive accolades for what we believe is worthy of recognition. May we quietly go about our mission and the call you have placed on our hearts.
In Jesus name, Amen.
Charity BumpasPastor, Creative Design
Charity Bumpas has the privilege to help grow the church through in-depth positive experiences while using creativity to communicate truth in a way which supports our mission.
The Journey: Walking the Road to Bethlehem by Adam Hamilton
The Bible – English Standard Version
Online Resources – bibletalk.com; biblestudytools.com; bibletools.org
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