Movies Behind his Eyes

Our 4-year-old great grandson John Butler told his mother recently that when he dreams, “It’s like seeing movies behind my eyes.”

Since our minds are focused on Christ’s first advent, I thought of all the movies Joseph saw “behind his eyes.”

After [Joseph] had considered [divorcing Mary quietly], 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” (Matt 1:20). God said it; Joseph did it.

When the [Magi] had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, “Get up. Take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt” (Matt 2:13). God said it; Joseph did it.

After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, “Get up, take the child and his mother to the land of Israel” (Matt 2:19, 20).God said it; Joseph did it.

Having been warned in a dream [Joseph] withdrew to the district of Galilee, and he went to live in a town called Nazareth” (Matt 2:22, 23). God said it; Joseph did it.

What impresses me from the four dream encounters Joseph had with God is his immediate obedience, submissive spirit, and his trusting heart. God said it; Joseph did it. Even though there were uncertainties, lots of travel without a GPS, (at least 75 miles to the border of Egypt, an area foreign to Joseph starting at night,) and danger. How’d we like being roused from sleep in the deep of night, told to get out of Bethlehem for “Herod is going to search for the child to kill him” (Matt 2:13b). It’s almost ironic that God (and Joseph) had to work so hard to keep His Son alive. And irony of ironies, after they returned from Egypt, his enemies succeeded in killing him less than 30 years later.

Joseph must have been a Godly man, knowledgeable of the Law and angels appearing in dreams, and discerning the voice of his God. He and Mary would make a trusting, obedient team.

I doubt if Joseph saw “movies of the angels behind his eyes,” but he certainly had sufficient practice in seeing the images of the angels in his dreams. As the sacred season is already on our radar screen, let’s “see” the narrative with a new point of view.

The Folded Napkin

At a Jewish meal during Biblical times, the napkin carried necessary and symbolic meanings for the master and the servant. When the master prepared to leave the evening table, he either tossed his crumpled napkin onto the table, or he neatly folded it by his plate. Either way, the servant knew exactly what to do. The crumpled napkin meant the meal was finished, and all was to be cleared. However, the folded napkin meant the meal was unfinished, and the master was coming back.

This symbolical meaning is illustrated in the resurrection of Christ. When Simon Peter arrived at the tomb on Sunday morning, he entered and saw the strips of linen lying there as well as the face cloth that had been around Jesus’ head. The “napkin” was not crumbled, but was folded, separate from the linen. Either the two angels, seated where Jesus body had been, folded the napkin, or Jesus himself folded it. Wow! What an unhurried peace of the Living One as He left the grave and walked away from the dead. His “meal” unfinished, the master Jesus is returning for us, His servants.

What a beautiful custom to reinforce His promise in John 14:3: “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” When we become discouraged or we doubt if he’s returning, remember, Jesus folded his napkin. The master is not finished. He’s coming back.

Read John 20:1-9 for the complete story of the folded napkin.

Posted Friday evening of Mother’s Day weekend. Poor timing. Be sure to read Soap Bubbles from last week.