Christmas, a time of obedience. Here is the third and fourth example of people submitting to God, obeying what He had to say in spite of all the forces of tradition, culture and fear of man, and thereby playing significant roles in the great plan of salvation.

First we have  Zechariah. Even though an angel appeared to him, coming directly from the presence of God,  Zechariah doubted his word,  and therefore was struck dumb until the birth of John. Fortunately, he learned his lesson. After John was born and his wife wanted  to name the baby John, but the relatives and neighbors objected. By custom a child is named after someone in his family; calling him John was a breach of tradition and normalcy. But  Zechariah obeyed what the angel had told him and wrote, “His name is John!”

How about us? Are we willing to obey God when it contravenes tradition, culture and the ideas of those around us?

Second we have Joseph, a good and righteous man. He found out somehow that his fiancé was pregnant—what a shock!  “…but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit.” However, Joseph, being a good man, faithful to the law, thought to divorce her quietly, protecting her from public disgrace

But 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.”

Joseph, unlike Zechariah, obeyed  immediately, “When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife” And, contrary to custom, “he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.”

A second time Joseph immediately obeyed the command of God: “An angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream ‘Get up,’ he said, ‘take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”

Joseph didn’t hesitate a moment. He awoke, “got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt” thereby foiling the plans of Herod and Satan to eliminate the Savior.

Then, a third time God spoke to Joseph in a dream. “After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, ‘Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead.’ So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel.”

Obedience in the face of tradition, the law, irrationality, fear and danger–this is what God used to preserve the life of the Messiah. Joseph’s obedience played a huge role in you being saved today.

What will God do through our obedience to Him? Let us follow in the footsteps of these people who were instruments in the hands of God.

May be an illustration