Introduction: We’ve looked at some of the lyrics throughout the month, but let’s look at them one more time:
What child is this, who laid to rest, On Mary's lap is sleeping? Whom angels greet with anthems sweet, While shepherds watch are keeping? This, this is Christ the King, Whom shepherds guard and angels sing: Haste, haste to bring Him laud, The babe, the son of Mary. Why lies He in such mean estate, Where ox and ass are feeding? Good Christians, fear, for sinners here The silent Word is pleading. Nails, spears shall pierce him through, the cross he bore for me, for you. Hail, hail the Word made flesh, the Babe, the Son of Mary. So bring him incense, gold, and myrrh, Come, peasant, king, to own him. The King of kings salvation brings, Let loving hearts enthrone him. Raise, raise a song on high, The virgin sings her lullaby Joy, joy for Christ is born, The babe, the Son of Mary. This, this is Christ the King, Whom shepherds guard and angels sing: Haste, haste to bring Him laud, The babe, the son of Mary.
As you read the verses of this carol you see several individuals or groups mentioned: the child, Mary, angels, shepherds, the wise men are alluded to . . . but have you noticed who is missing? There is no mention whatsoever of Joseph. No mention of the man who adopted Jesus as his own son and the man who would be involved in raising Him. Not only is Joseph not mentioned in this song, but he’s also not mentioned by Mark in his Gospel. We know a little of Joseph’s thoughts about the whole event, but we do not have record of his words, just his obedience, presence and care are mentioned.
But, Joseph was present at the manger. He was present before the manger. He was present after the manger. He was present at least up through Jesus' twelfth birthday as recorded in Luke 2:41-52. Historians believe Joseph died somewhere between Jesus' teenage years and the beginning of his public ministry at age 30. And during the early childhood years of Jesus' life on earth, not only was this child known as the "Son of Mary" as the song states but also Jesus was known as the Son of Joseph.
What child is this? He is a child adopted by a father who loved Him. How do we know Jesus was adopted by Joseph? There are clues all throughout the places in the Bible that do mention Joseph. Notice what the text says in Matthew 1:18-25 concerning Jesus' birth.
Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.
What’s in a Name?
What’s in a Name?
There are two places in that text that give the reader clues that Joseph, although not the birth father of Jesus, became his adoptive father. The angel of the Lord told Joseph in the dream:
She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.
According to some historians the naming of a child in this culture was the responsibility of the father. God, told Joseph that he was to call his son Jesus. The intention of God was for Joseph to adopt Jesus as his son and become his earthly father. When Jesus was born in Bethlehem on that Christmas night, we find Joseph naming the child, his adopted child, Jesus.
Fathers would also do something else when their children were born. They would take the newborn baby and lay that child across their knees to acknowledge the legitimacy of their newborn descendant. When a man would adopt a child or a baby he would do the same thing. This ritual would testify to those observing, that this baby is being received as my own. Although Scripture doesn’t reveal to us whether or not Joseph followed this tradition it is most likely he did.
There are several indications throughout Scripture that signify Joseph adopted Jesus as his own son, even though he wasn’t His biological son. We answered the question last week concerning who Jesus’ Father was. It was God Himself. However, when the question was asked, “Who’s His daddy” people naturally assumed Joseph was.
Who’s His Daddy?
Who’s His Daddy?
Joseph's wife, Mary, certainly viewed her husband as Jesus's earthly father. When Jesus was a twelve-year-old boy, Joseph and Mary had been to Jerusalem as a family where they celebrated the Feast of Passover. Upon traveling back home, they realized Jesus was not with their traveling group. Upon rushing back to Jerusalem, they found Jesus talking with the teachers in the Temple. Notice how Jesus' mother, Mary, responds to Jesus upon finding him, as well as how Luke, the writer of this gospel account, identifies the couple.
And when his parents saw him, they were astonished. And his mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been searching for you in great distress.”
Luke identified both Mary and Joseph as Jesus' parents. Mary, Jesus' birth mother, calls her husband, Joseph, Jesus' "father." It was clear that Joseph adopted Jesus as his son. It was how Jesus was known in his childhood and even into his adult life. Another clue is given in John's Gospel when Jesus calls his disciples to follow him and later into his public ministry.
The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”
So the Jews grumbled about him, because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” They said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?”
Everybody who knew Jesus recognized him as Joseph's son. Joseph had adopted Jesus as his son from day one. What child is this? One of the characteristics that answers the question is found in the reflection of his earthly father, Joseph. He is the One who adopts and names us as part of His own family.
While we have established that God is Jesus’ Heavenly Father and we have also established that Joseph was Jesus’ adoptive Father the final question that we must ask this morning is this . . .
Who’s YOUR Daddy?
Who’s YOUR Daddy?
God is YOUR Creator, but He is not necessarily YOUR Father. For God to be YOUR FATHER You must be adopted into the family of God by faith.
Listen to what Paul says in the book of Galatians concerning this vital adoption into the Family of God.
But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.
What child is this? He is the one who makes adoption into His family possible. And adoption leads to our salvation which includes our freedom from sin. That is what Joseph was told to name his adoptive Son when He would be born. Remember what the angel of the Lord said to Joseph in his dream.
She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
The name of Jesus means "God saves." What God saves, God adopts as His own and for His own by the power of the Holy Spirit.
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
Paul goes on to write about the adoption into God's family in his letter to the Ephesian church.
he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,
After our adoption into the family of God the Father that is made possible by Jesus the Son, in due time Jesus will give us a new name.
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.’
That is adoption language. It includes the responsibility of a father to name his child. What child is this? He is the one who enables adoption into God's family to take place and will give a new name to those who become part of His family. These are the characteristics we see in Jesus' adoptive, earthly father, Joseph. These are the truths and responsibilities of the One we celebrate who was born in a manger so he could die on a cross leading to resurrection and the defeat of sin and death. Such victory and life enables adoption to be available for all who call on His name! This is the ultimate answer to the question: what child is this?
He is Jesus, the adopting and naming God who sets us on His knee and calls us sons and daughters. He enables us to be family as He gives us our name.
In just a few minutes we are going to observe the Lord’s Supper and before we do we need ask ourselves a few questions:
Have I been adopted into the family of God? It is vitally important to understand that you are not adopted into God’s family by coincidence. As we learned earlier, it is through faith in Christ and His victorious death and resurrection, that our sins are forgiven and we are given new life in Christ. It would be extremely unwise and a mockery of what Christ has done for you to reject His sacrifice but observe the commemoration of this sacrifice.
As a believer have I been unwilling to confess or repent of sin that I know is in my life. We know from Scripture, there were believers in the Corinthian Church who were living in sin and were unwilling to forsake and confess their sin, but they chose to partake of the Lord’s Supper anyway and God brought judgement upon them.
It would be IMPERATIVE for us all to do some SPIRITUAL INVENTORY at this time as really ask God to search our hearts.
Do we have room for Jesus in our hearts or do we like the Innkeeper say, “Oh, Sorry no room in the inn.”
Do we love our Savior more than our sin? Jesus said we cannot serve two masters.
Is there anything we need to confess and forsake today? Now is the time.
At this time we will pass out the bread and the cup. We ask you to hold these and wait further instructions. While these are being passed out take some time to think about the body of the Lord Jesus that was broken and the blood that was spilt for you. Praise Him for the sacrifice that was made so that YOU might have life and have it more abundantly.
At this time we will PRAY and thank God for the sacrifice of His Son and what the bread and the cup represent.
That night, Jesus would eat the Passover Meal one last time with His disciples. However, He put a new twist on the meaning of Passover. He helped the disciples understand that He was their Passover Lamb and by trusting in Him and applying His blood, by faith, to the doorposts of their hearts they could be sure to have the freedom from the power and penalty of sin. You and I, through faith in Christ, not these elements, but through faith in Christ can have the VERY SAME THING! He then broke the bread and said these words . . .
And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
After this He took the cup and explained how this represented His blood, that was going to be poured out as a sacrifice for their sins and He said . . .
And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.
After the Supper a very strange and interesting thing took place. One of the customs in this day, when someone would enter a home, someone in the home would offer to wash the guests feet. At this time most people wore sandals and they walked the dirty, dusty streets. As you can imagine one’s feet would get filthy very quickly in this environment. However, it is obvious that no one time the time or effort to wash anyone’s feet before this meal, but that was ok, because Jesus had ONE MORE LESSON He wanted to teach them before this night was through. He wanted to remind them that they were SERVANTS and they were to be SERVANTS of one another.
So the CREATOR and the SUSTAINER of the UNIVERSE demonstrated the fact that He came to SERVE, not to be served.
Notice John 13:12-17
When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.
One of the reasons we wash the saints feet is a humble reminder of the symbolism the precious act represents. It reminds us that if our Lord and Master was willing to humble Himself to do such a menial task, then we should follow in His steps and serve one another as well. The word “SERVE” is going to be our theme for 2018 and I believe this is a fitting way to end 2017.
I am going to pray and those of you who are planning on staying for the feetwashing ceremony are invited to come up front and have a seat on the first few rows. For those of you who cannot stay we want to wish you a very, Merry Christmas!
So what I want us to do is to split up into these groups. As you do share something with each other that you are thankful for or that you want to praise the Lord about. Maybe you have a brief testimony you want to share with one another or a prayer request you would like to share with one another. After you use the basin to wash one another’s feet and after everyone is finished sharing we will have another word of dismissal prayer:
Jim Jackson & Evan Kennedy
Flavio & Sarah (Family)
Mr. & Mrs Camp
Don & Marge Hedderick
Jim & Jenny Nicoll