By Rev. Dr. Sergio E. Arevalo, Jr.
Eagle Rock Lutheran Church, Los Angeles, CA
December 29, 2013
If the Lord will tell you to do something in accordance with his mission, will you follow Him? Will you follow him even though it will mean leaving your comfort zone?
In our passage we see a man who followed the angel for the sake of the mission of the Messiah.
When the angel told Joseph to take Mary as his wife, he followed the angel. In our passage, the angel of the Lord told Joseph to take Mary, and Jesus to Egypt since he was in danger from King Herod. When they were in Egypt, again Joseph dreamed the angel, and he gave a new commandment to go back to the land of Israel.
(1) In the gospels, we read the sacrifices of Joseph. He swallowed his ego just to take Mary as his wife to save her from imminent death to due to bearing a child not his, and to help in the mission of God.
(2) Joseph left his status and life in Israel just to follow God’s will. When the angel said to him, flee to Egypt, and save Jesus from the wrath of King Herod, he followed God.
(3) Joseph knew that Jesus was not his son, but still he loved him and his mother. He gave up himself just to save and protect Jesus and his mother.
JOSEPH’S SENSE OF URGENCY
(1) Joseph knew the sense of urgency of the angel’s command. When he dreamed the angel and told his command, he immediately believed it, and left from Israel and fled to Egypt.
“Now when they were departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I tell thee: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. And he arose and took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt” (Matthew 2:13-14).
“But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, Arise and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead that sought the young child’s life. And he arose and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel” (Matthew 2:19-21).
Joseph felt the urgency of the message of the angel, again he sacrificed and they left Egypt, and came to the land of Israel.
(2) What’s the meaning of “sense of urgency”? A sense of urgency is the sense that immediate action is required. It is the idea that something must be done as soon as possible or a potentially positive outcome may be missed or turned into a negative outcome. In some instances, it can mean preventing a negative outcome from getting even worse (ask.com).
Sense of urgency is the sense of emergency. It means one should act immediately and timely. Following sense of urgency means doing something accordingly, timely and immediately.
(3) Let me ask you. How do you follow God? Is it with sense of emergency? Meaning do we do according to His will? According to right timing?
I read from the news that until now, a lot of corpses are still not buried by the Philippine government. It is already Dec 29. It is already 8 weeks since the Typhoon Yolanda hit the Philippines. Where’s the sense of urgency there? For sure, those decaying bodies will affect the country and maybe including the neighboring countries.
(1) Joseph showed his obedience to God by following the commands of the angel. He followed it with urgency and with self-sacrifice.
(2) What he did is a good paradigm for us nowadays. If we really love Jesus, we need to sacrifice, and obey his will with sense of urgency.
Have you heard the news published on May 22 this year? “Faith Helped Woman Confront British Terrorists”
Do you remember in May when the British soldier was beheaded in broad daylight outside his barracks?
The Telegraph, a British paper, reported that a mother and Cub Scout leader, Ingrid Loyau-Kennett, age 48, confronted the terrorists immediately after the grisly murder. She was one of the first people on the scene.
While one of the terrorists held a bloodied knife, she selflessly engaged the terrorist in conversation in an attempt to prevent him from killing others. A Christian blog for “First Things” noted the real factor that motivated Ms. Loyau-Kennett to risk her life and get involved was her Christian faith.
She said, “I live my life as a Christian. I believe in thinking about others and loving thy neighbor. We all have a duty to look after each other.”
Denying self is seldom that dramatic or high profile but it is often that demanding. Mrs. Loyau-Kennett understood that her faith is about far more than her own personal well-being. It is about obeying God and loving humanity.
In Britain, Mrs Loyau-Kennett is being regarded as a national hero, even Prime Minister David Cameron praising her courage (sermoncentral.com; cathnews.co.nz).
Mrs. Loyau-Kenett acted according to her faith with sense of urgency, and self-sacrifice. Can we do it, too?