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Communion Meditations (2016)

Joseph

Matthew 1:19

Originally scheduled for November 20

Joseph, the husband of Mary, faced one of life’s more unusual decisions when his wife-to-be informed him that she was pregnant. Joseph, no fool, immediately had a choice to make:

·         He could follow the strictest of the Old Testament laws and seek to have Mary stoned to death. This might’ve brought on some complications with the Romans, but it was in view.

·         He also had the choice of divorcing her. In those days that just required a little legal work, much less so than now.

Mary no doubt explained to him why she was pregnant. This may have raised some doubt in Joseph’s mind, but given Mary’s youth (she was probably about 13) and the uniqueness of her story it’s not at all unreasonable the Joseph would conclude that something was amiss. So he had a choice to make. The Scripture tells us that he did the righteous thing; he was going to divorce her. Interestingly enough, the “righteous thing” was the choice that did not follow the strictest of Old Testament law. Why is this righteous?

The truth is that it is harder to follow Jesus Christ than it is to follow a set of rules. The Old Testament law is pretty clear: stoning. But I would point out to you that following this rule does have a tendency to make you feel very self-righteous. That law is a witch hunter’s dream. There’s a warning for us in here; if following the rules makes you feel self-righteous, you might just want to think twice. The simple truth is this: man’s justice is legalistic. Think about it; our legal system is, well, legalistic. Our justice system runs by rules. God’s system runs by his wisdom. Joseph chose wisdom.

Communion is a portrayal of that. The Scripture teaches us clearly that the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross was part of God’s plan from the beginning. This is clearly indicating to us that dealing with sin by reconciliation is the wisdom of God from the beginning. Note, please, the God could at any time have decided to replace us with some other creature in the hopes of getting better behavior. He was not interested so much in better behavior as he was in reconciling us to himself. Legalists want better behavior; those who love want reconciliation.

The war is not over when you have defeated your enemy in battle. The war is over when you have made your enemy into your friend. God has done that. He has reconciled us to himself. Once we were far from him, now we are his children. This is a great and glorious thing; we rightly describe the memorial of this as something we “celebrate.”

So as you partake of communion this morning reflect in your heart that God in his wisdom has paid for your reconciliation. His body, his blood on the Cross have turned you from God’s enemy into God’s child. That is something to celebrate.

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