Why Mary…Why Joseph?

December 20, 2020 The Fourth Sunday of Advent (Cycle B)

The tie in between today’s readings: All in the Family

Psalm 89:1-5;27-29, 2 Samuel 7:1-16, Romans 16:25-27, Luke 1:26-38

Our Old Testament reading in 2 Samuel 7:1-16 opens with King David speaking to Nathan the prophet. He says, “You know, it’s just not right. I live in this great big house and the Lord is still out there in a tent. Something needs to be done.” Nathan gives David his blessing, but in a little while, he is sent back to the king with a new message from the Lord. In the condensed version, God basically says that if He wanted a house, He would have said so. The Almighty reminds David that He takes care of him and the kingdom, and not the other way around. God then makes David a promise that He will build him a house…a forever dynasty. The Lord continues. He will watch over his successor, be a father to him, and allow him to build the temple. David is overwhelmed! Although not covered in today’s reading, the king launches into prayer thanking God for establishing his eternal kingdom. He will spend the rest of his life drawing up plans and gathering materials for the project that his son will complete.

After David’s death, Solomon ascends to the throne. His reign starts out in excellent fashion and he builds the temple that his father had envisioned. Israel is in her Golden Age as the Lord gives him unparalleled wisdom, fame, and riches. But Solomon sinned and married many foreign women, who eventually lead him to abandon Jehovah for their gods. In response, the Almighty divided the tribes, leaving Solomon’s line only a remnant (two tribes) to govern in the new nation of Judah. With a few exceptions, things deteriorate throughout the generations of the kings, until finally, God sends the Jews into exile and curses the last monarch, Jeconiah (Jerimiah 22:28-30).  This, in effect, ends the royal bloodline and seemingly invalidates the Davidic covenant. Our reading in Psalm 89:1-5 examines the promise that the Almighty will establish an eternal throne for David and struggles to reconcile their present situation in Babylon with God’s vow. He finishes in faith that the Lord will deliver on what He says. Perhaps, he caught a glimpse of Jesus in vs. 27-29.

Hundreds of years later, our gospel reading in Luke 1:26-38 begins with the Lord dispatching the angel, Gabriel to a betrothed virgin named, Mary. There are key takeaways in this familiar story of the Annunciation. First, Jesus was to be virgin born. Second, this Son of God will take the seat of His father, king David. There is an important element, not mentioned until Luke 3:23-38, which reveals that Mary, herself, is a descendant of David through another son named Nathan. This means that Jesus will have the necessary pedigree of David’s bloodline through His mother. The problem is that she is not in the line of kings. Enter Joseph, her betrothed mentioned in verse 27, another descendant of David who just so happens to be an heir to the throne. But, when Mary gives him the account of her pregnancy, Joseph balks and makes plans to end things. His role in all of this is so vital that an angel enters his dreams to reassure him that Mary’s story is on the up and up (Matthew 1:18-25). With the carpenter on board (pardon the pun), they wed. Mary stays a virgin. Jesus is born. Prophesy is fulfilled and because He is Joseph’s adopted son; He can circumvent the cursed bloodline of the kings. Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah, can lay legitimate claim the throne and fulfill the Davidic covenant. The rest, as they say, is history.

Now, since you know, our epistle in Romans 16:25-27 asks, “Will it lead you to faith?” Colossians 1:13-14 tells us, “[The Father] rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” So, will you come? Will you surrender to Jesus as your king? Will you live as a citizen of His kingdom by the power of the Holy Spirit? Can you anticipate the glorious future that this Advent season points towards? Believe! Receive! Rejoice!

For a Child will be born to us, a Son will be given to us;
And the government will rest on His shoulders;
And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace
On the throne of David and over his kingdom,
To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness
From then on and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of armies will accomplish this.

Isaiah 9:6-7

Hallelujah! Merry Christmas!

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