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More than DNA

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I used to travel down Interstate 44 a lot and there was this billboard with “Who’s my Daddy” on it. It is a picture of a baby reaching toward you as you pass by it. The billboard advertises a company which provides DNA testing to establish paternity. But just sharing common DNA does not make you a father. In fact there are several instances where DNA has nothing to do with being a father. You know this by first hand experience with my wife and I, through the children we get into our home. Families are adopting children from different racial and ethnic backgrounds. People are literally going around the world to adopt children Romania, China, Russia, Africa and many other countries. The Pastor and Kristen are trying to adopt from China. Some fathers are the biological fathers, others are foster dads, adoptive fathers and of course some step-dads. Regardless of the title that society may place on us, our children call us their dad, da-da, daddy, father, pops, sometimes old man, gramps, papa and even daddy-O. Whatever the nickname, we fathers have a special place in the hearts of our children. Oh don’t get me wrong it may be a rocky road that we fathers have to travel but in the end when the child grows up a lot of times they see the wisdom and love of their father.

This is what a young lady wrote to her step father on father’s day after she graduated high school.

“I was thinking about it, and there is a difference between Dad and Step-dad. A Dad just is. It’s Dad. But the word Step is one of those polite substitutes for what it truly is: a LEAP; a PLUNGE; a FREEFALL on to the side of an unknown mountain, knowing no matter where you land on it – you MUST climb and fair the weather along the way if you want to reach the top.

The Step – much like the jagged blender blades which create the blended family – is what it takes to bridge the chasm from your heart to mine. And you took that Step, that Leap, that Plunge. I cannot thank you enough. You stand by me. You listen – really listen. And perhaps what most impresses me is that you opened your arms to me – from the first day we met. You were willing to love me, and hold me. For once I could be held by a man and trust, to feel SAFE.

I cannot thank you enough…for being a father to me…my incredible Step-dad. I love you, Tiffany.”

There is no greater joy than for parents to receive this recognition from their child. I think we long to hear what we truly mean to our children. And that what we tried to teach them all of those years really sunk in.

Well there is a step father and some say he is a foster father, that we will be speaking about today and this father does not (like some fathers) does not get his fair share of the good press. He does not get talked about in Bible studies, preached about, great wisdom is not spoken about him, books are not written about him, and he did not become a saint. He kind of gets the raw deal when it comes to his role in raising his step son.

Sermon text “And Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ” Matthew 1:16

In our text Matthew 1:16 now this is the genealogy of Jesus according to Matthew in verse 16 it reads

“And Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ”

Matthew does not say that Joseph is the father of Jesus, but only that he was the husband of Mary, showing that he is not the physical father. Matthew is showing the legal relationship of Jesus; you see Jesus does not have Josephs DNA. It is important that we keep this in mind this morning as we continue to see what kind of father Joseph is.

Lets look at verses 18-24

18This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. 19Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

Lets stop there for a moment, Can you imagine what Joseph must have been feeling? Looking forward to a life married to Mary and having children being the leader of his family. But then the news came that his future wife was already pregnant. The disappointment must have been overwhelming and there must have been anger as he thought that he had been deceived.

Yet, Joseph was a good and compassionate man. According to Matthew 1:19, Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

Who knows what would happen if they lived in our times, I mean Jerry Springer, Oprah, Men killing their families to be with another women. but To have a public divorce would have been disgrace to Mary, his compassion would not allow him to do that to her.

Joseph was a righteous man, he was a good man, he was a compassionate man, No wonder God chose him to the step- father of Jesus.

In verse 20 we continue

20But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus,[a] because he will save his people from their sins." (Man what pressure)

22All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23"The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel"[b]—which means, "God with us."

24When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.

Joseph broke tradition and brought Mary home to be his wife. Tradition was to have a customary one-year waiting period and that had not passed. Joseph did what God commanded him to do. No matter what the social stigma was or the local gossip thought.

a LEAP; a PLUNGE; a FREEFALL on to the side of an unknown mountain, knowing no matter where you land on it – you MUST climb and fair the weather along the way if you want to reach the top. Is this what Joseph could have been feeling?

Joseph was a man of God, he had great belief and trust in God.

There are some people that will say that they are a Christian and yet they are ruled by what society tells them on how to live and act, not by what God tells them.

God found one man that he knew would falter from the ideas and the norms of society.

Joseph knew he was following God’s command in marrying and caring for Mary during her pregnancy.

Joseph was a man of God

I am going over to Luke chapter 2:22 you can follow me over there if you like.

On a side note there is no reference to Joseph in the book of Mark. The book of Mark starts out with John the Baptist preparing the way for Jesus. (That was free). Alright back to our text Luke 2:22

22 “When the time of their purification according to the Law of Moses had been completed, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord”

It was the parent’s responsibility to go to the temple and give the purification offering and the first born son was presented to God one month after birth. The ceremony included a buy back, the child from God through an offering. Through this the parents would acknowledge that he child belonged to God.

Joseph assumed the role as Jesus’ father by completing the purification offering through the buying back Jesus from God. Listen, He named his son Jesus. He became his father.

Even though Jesus was the Son of God, Joseph followed the traditions and Laws of Moses. Luke 2:39 tells that it wasn’t until Mary and Joseph had done everything required by the law that they returned to Galilee.

Joseph Followed the Law.

Joseph was a protector. Joseph protected his family from the people that would harm them.

In three dreams Joseph was warned; Matthew 2:13 After the wise men were gone, an angel appeared to Joseph in a dream. “ Get up and flee to Egypt with the child and Mary, ” the angel said. “ Stay there until I tell you to return, because Herod is going to try to kill the Child. ”

And he did as the Lord commanded.

Matthew 2:19-21 After Herod died, an angel appeared to Joseph in a dream and told him, “Get up and take the child and his mother back to the Israel, because those who were trying to kill the child are dead.” So Joseph returned immediately to Israel with Jesus and his mother.

Matthew 2:22-23 When he learned that the new ruler was Archelaus, Herod’s son , he was afraid. Then, in another dream, he was warned to go to Galilee. So they went and lived in a town called Nazareth. This fulfilled what the prophets said concerning the Messiah: “He will be called a Nazarene.”

He was a protector of his family. As they traveled, as he listened to God, going from one place to another he protected his family.

Joseph was also an example. The Son of God, was known throughout his earthly life as "the carpenter's son” (Mark 6:3) the son of Joseph (Luke 4:22). Growing up as children do, he naturally would acquire some of Joseph's traits, perhaps his walk or some expressions of speech From Joseph (You know the ones that your mother of father would say all the time and now you do) My mother would say “shut the door, were not heating the outside” I grew up in Michigan we couldn’t heat up the outside. Jesus learned how to use a carpenter's tools and after awhile he worked at his father’s side.

He was an example

He was a provider.

He was a carpenter by trade, which made it easy to go from place to place

DNA did not make Joseph a father; it was the things that he did which made him a father.

It was the commitment that made him a father.

As a father Joseph was an example, he was a protector, he was a follower of the local traditions and laws, and he was a man of God, he was a provider. He assumed the role of the father and he took care of his family.

Jesus was born into a Jewish family, poor in society but rich in tradition, into a loving home.

God hand picked Joseph to be the foster, step, and earthly father of His Son Jesus Christ.

God has hand picked you to be the child of your father, for what ever reason. Honor him today.

I don’t know the situation of your relationship with or without your father today I do know that I spent my whole life without my father. I grew up not knowing my father, he left when I was very young and he never returned. My father contacted me, after I became a father. We talked on the telephone ten to twelve times, but I never saw him. I learned of his death two years after my father passed away. The sad thing was I had no feelings about it, no emotions about his passing at all. I regret not knowing him today and I have come to forgive him for disappearing from my life. I also had to forgive myself for keeping him at a distance when he was reaching out to me. I now understand that no earthly father will ever be perfect, although we would like them to be. I think now of what my father could have taught me and what I could have shared with him. I know it is my loss for not knowing him.

You may be like me, and your father is no longer with us or your father is alive and you are going through some tough times with him now, or your relationship with your father may be great, today on this fathers day honor him for being dad.

Some of us need healing, forgiveness, love, a feeling of belonging that you don’t have right now. I am here to tell you that I know that the things I so desperately searched, I found when I found Christ in my life.

I faked it

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