Sunday, 17 December 2017
Not exactly sartorial elegance. More of an eccentric if you ask me.
Yet this was a man with a mission.
His mission – to tell everyone about Jesus. To prepare them for His arrival.
His name – John, the Baptist. In case you confuse him with another John.
An outspoken man who feared no one in his quest to do what God had asked him. He even dared to criticize the king, and paid dearly with his life for doing so. (Mark 6:14-29).
His legacy to us?
Courage and Obedience.
Despite living in dangerous times, this man had courage to speak out and tell the world about Jesus; and dared tell the King that he was wrong.
How often are we presented with the opportunity to speak about God, about our religion and our Christianity. Do we shy away and miss a good opportunity to witness for our Lord? Or have we got a tiny fraction of John’s courage? And obedience?
It would have been a great scandal for an unmarried woman to become pregnant. Her family would be shamed and she would most probably have been shunned by everyone. It was even more outrageous to claim that the baby is the Son of God. That would have been blasphemy surely!
Yet despite her fears of shame, rejection and ridicule, not to mention fear for her own safety, Mary trusted God and said "Yes".
She agreed to be the Mother of Jesus.
So, what is her legacy to us?
Obedience and trust.
Obedience and trust in God despite what must have been a very dangerous situation for her, and her family.
Are we that obedient and trusting when God speaks to us?
Imagine his dilemma. He was engaged to Mary when she found out she was due to have a baby by the Holy Spirit. At first he considered doing what many men with a pregnant girl friend whose baby is not theirs would have done - run a mile in the opposite direction.
Being an honourable man he decided to break the engagement privately so as not to disgrace her.
Then the angel appeared to him in a dream; and based on that dream alone he decided to marry Mary and raise her son as if He were his own.
He was there when Jesus was born in Bethlehem and we read about him when he took Jesus and Mary to Egypt to escape from Herod (Matthew 2:13) and then when they returned to Nazareth (Matthew 2:19).
He is also mentioned when the boy Jesus was twelve years old and found in the Temple in Jerusalem (Luke 2:41).
So as Jesus' foster father he was there during His early years protecting Him from Herod and providing a loving family for the Son of God.
What a wonderful man he must have been. Working quietly in the background, without much recognition, doing God's will in raising His Son on earth.
So, what is his legacy to us?
Obedience and trust.
Despite what his common sense told him to do, he did not walk away from Mary. He trusted God and decided to stay with Mary. He decided to provide for her and a child Who was not his. He taught the child carpentry and raised Him up as his own.
May his obedience and trust be an example to us all.