Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Advent-Joseph, Earthly Father of Jesus

photo courtesy of visualbibleimages.com
Joseph was appointed by God to serve as the earthly father for Jesus, God's Son. The Bible says Joseph was a just man.

His betrothed, Mary, came to him one day saying an angel visited and brought a message saying she was highly favored, the Lord was with her, and that she was blessed among women. She watched for his response.

Joseph didn't expect to hear Mary was pregnant, that she was chosen to be the one to mother the Son of God. He didn't seem to believe her. The Gospels tell us he didn't want to make a public spectacle of her. Instead he decided to put her away secretly. He could have been cruel, abused her, threw her out, but he didn't. 

God in his mercy, sent an angel to explain the news to Joseph. The angel told him not to be afraid to take Mary as his wife because the baby growing in her was of the Holy Spirit. Joseph was to name the baby Jesus, for He woulld save His people from their sins. Like Mary, he accepted the message without challenging the validity and chose to care for Mary rather than follow through with his original plan to put her away. 

Joseph, too, had to endure cruel words from friends and family who learned about Mary's pregnancy. He told them what the angel said, but some may not have believed and thought she wasn't good enough to be his wife.

He had months to think about the responsibility of having a son. But this son was no ordinary son. God trusted him, a mere man, to care for and raise His Son. Would it be all right to teach Jesus to be a carpenter? He wouldn't know how to teach any other trade.

In Mary's ninth month of pregnancy, the Gospels tell us Joseph took Mary with him to register for the census instead of leaving her to register with her family. He encompassed his duty as future husband of Mary and treated her with compassion.

The eighty mile trip to Bethlehem gave him lots of time to think. He saw Mary's discomfort as she rode the donkey. He hoped there would be room in an Inn. He wondered if they would arrive in Bethlehem before the baby came. 

Yes, God would take care of them, but Joseph didn't have details. Where would they stay? Who would help Mary birth the baby, God's Son? Should they stay in Bethlehem after the census? What else did God want him to do for His Son?

What might Joseph have thought the night the shepherds came to visit Mary and baby Jesus? Was he happy and considered the visit another confirmation from God? Did he wonder if he should let the shepherds in to see Mary with the new baby? They were dirty and smelly.

Or what about the day the wise men came? Jesus was a little older. The Bible does not say Joseph knew the wise men would come or that they would bring such expensive gifts to worship the King. Imagine his surprise.

The Gospels tell us that God spoke to Joseph in a dream around the time Jesus was two years old. He told Joseph to take his family to Egypt to escape danger. Joseph immediately obeyed. 

We aren't told too much about Joseph. But from what God revealed in the Bible, we can see why Joseph would have been chosen to be Jesus' earthly father.

Can you help me add more thoughts to our picture of Joseph?

6 comments:

  1. I don't know any more about Joseph, but he was the ultimate unselfish man, the perfect role model for husbands and fathers of any time period. I love him for that.

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  2. Oooo. Good thoughts Cyn. Thanks!

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  3. Being in a time and place where sons were valued more than daughters, Joseph would have known he should be exhibiting the typical father's proud delight as he presented his first child, a son, to others. And yet, could he take any credit for this event that had happened in the life of his wife and the Son of God? Would the son even grow to look like him, Joseph, Jesus's earthly father? Joseph was humbled to realize for the thousand and one plus times since he had heard of what was to be that he had been chosen to be the earthly father of God's Son. If God said it was so, it would be so. Joseph could be at peace, not feeling like a fraud, as he proudly presented his newborn son in his humble hands to the waiting world. Jesus was his son, unlike any other sons before or after, for He was the Son of God. Could there ever be such humble pride in a man as was found in Joseph? He had to take credit for this gift to the world for the moment although in his heart he knew all credit belonged to his Father, God, his Abba.

    Thank you for this challenge, Mary! You are a blessing to many.

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  4. I always think about how blindsided Joseph must have felt when he first found out about Mary's pregnancy. Talk about a change of plans!!

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  5. Janice,
    A lot of thought went into your answer. Contemplating these events and the lives living them is a great preparation for our Christmas celebration.

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  6. Melissa,
    Yes, and I think, according to the times, Joseph would have been much older than Mary, perhaps in his young thirties. He would have had life pretty well figured out...until the pregnancy was announced. Another kudo for him. Not many could have handled the situation.

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