Sunday, December 4, 2011

Christmas is all about the beloved Son

Genesis 37:3-4 Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colours. 4And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him.

Christmas is all about the Beloved Son
Jacob, whose name had been changed by God to "Israel", who is one of the patriarchs in Genesis, became the father of twelve sons, the leaders of the twelve tribes of Israel.  Of those sons, none was more dear to him than Joseph.  Now Joseph is a fascinating character in that no other Old Testament character pictures Christ in so many ways like he.  When we think about Christmas and Christ's coming to earth, Joseph points us to Him, since like Christ he was the beloved Son of the Father. In today's Christmas thought, we want to consider how Joseph's life as a beloved son points us to the first coming of The Beloved Son.

The Beloved Son is born to take away shame
Joseph's life begins in Genesis 30:22-24, wherein his mother Rachael, barren for many years, finally conceives and gives birth to him.  Rachael interpreted the birth of her son as being the son who would take away her shame or "reproach".  She had been barren, unable to have children.  For years she bore that stigma of shame among her family and friends.  But now that was all gone, thanks to the birth of Joseph. 

Even though Rachael would live to have one more child, Benjamin, the Bible tells us that her second birth would be painful, ending in her death in pain and sorrow of child birth.  (Please compare Genesis 35:16-22)

The sorrow surrounding Christ's birth
In the Christmas story, during the time following Christ's birth, King Herod of Jerusalem had issued a decree to kill all the Jewish baby boys two years and under.  In Matthew 2:18 we read a quotation from Jeremiah 31:15 concerning a prophecy of that event: "A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning.  Rachael weeping for her children, refusing to be comforted because they were no more."  Just as Joseph's mother Rachael died in sorrow giving birth to a child, that event would prophetically point the the days following Christ's birth.  That event would prompt the family of Jesus to flee to Egypt until Herod's death.

Why God the Son came - to remove the shame of sin
The parallel above serves to give a backdrop to the main purpose of the birth of Christ - to take away the sins of those whom He would call and convict to believe on Him.  Just as Rachael had spoken of Joseph as being the son who had been born to "take away her reproach", Christ is described as the Savior who would take away the sins of His people.  When the angel announced to Mary that she would bear forth the Savior, the following words were spoken to her in Matthew 1:21 - "And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins."

Truly the miracle of the Bible is how in all of its details, it points us to the Christ of the cradle, who would grow to be the Christ of Calvary, who died and rose to be the King of glory. 

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