Friday, December 9, 2016

My Picture of Joseph

      This week I wanted to write something about Joseph, I looked everywhere I could think of, from the bible to the internet and to my surprise I didn't find one quote from Joseph. I have never given it much thought before this week, but Joseph doesn't say one word in all of the gospels, he just listens and obeys. I can see where one could assume that his words are written in the bible, we can hear him having conversations with Mary, and for sure the Angel Gabrielle. We can imagine him talking to the inn keeper, we can visualize him teaching Jesus about carpentry, but he just fades from the scene. I have found out that it is thought that Joseph was much older than Mary, and when Jesus starts His ministry Mary seems to be alone, and even though the bible doesn't say she is a widow, we can kind of figure that Joseph has passed.

      I think Joseph thought he had his life pretty well planned out. His trade and his marriage were all tightly wrapped for him, but then his world is turned upside down when he found out his bride to be was pregnant. Joseph wanted to do things the right way. He thought about divorcing her, but wanted to do it without calling attention to the reason. He could have had her publicly shamed, or even had her stoned to death for adultery. But Joseph protects her reputation by moving up the wedding date, and then the Roman census took them away from the wondering eyes of the town.

      Thanks to the genealogy of the Gospels, we know that Joseph came from the royal lineage of King David, but I can easily picture Joseph as a humble man. The brief mentions of Joseph in the bible suggests to me that he was a quiet man that didn't purposely call attention to himself. He was available when needed and willing to take on hardships. Joseph was looking forward to fathering his own child, but was instead fathering a child that was not his own, but he accepted the humbling experiences around the birth of Jesus, and he trusted in the divine care of God every day. There were no training manuals or directions on how to be a father to the Son of God, but he used faith and compassion. Biblical scholars paint Joseph as an excellent choice for a provider and protector of his family.

      There is not one Christmas pageant performed anywhere that Joseph plays a big role in, but in the most important Christmas pageant of them all, his part was very important. His role was to take care of Mary and the Baby Jesus, to protect them, and get them where they needed to be. Joseph had the important role of caring for the needs of others. Does that sound familiar?

      When our lives take a turn for the worse, and we cry out, Lord how can this be? Like I am sure Joseph cried out, but we must be again like Joseph and hear the still, quiet voice from God saying trust Me. God does not always lead us down the easy path, and we might not ever understand everything that God does, but He says trust me and all things will work out for good.

      I have heard a saying that says the best thing a father can do for his kids is to love their mother. Joseph's love for Mary was a excellent example of Paul's definition. Love is patient and kind. Love does not envy or boast, it is not proud or rude. Love is not self seeking or easily angered. It keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices in the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres. (1 Corinthians 13) Instead of being angered and annoyed, Joseph accepted Jesus as his own, Joseph accepted the will of God that was revealed to him. He followed what he was told. They journeyed to Bethlehem, then to Egypt, and then back to Nazareth. I can easily see Joseph receiving his son as a true gift from God.

      Joseph became a father to the Messiah, who would teach us about the true grace of God. Joseph was entrusted with naming their son and thus defining His mission, the name Jesus means Savior. I have read where archaeologists have uncovered ruins of a city called Sapphoris near Nazareth, and it is believed that Joseph spent a lot of time there working carpentry jobs. Maybe even with his young apprentice and son Jesus. You see, when Jesus came home, the people cried out, is this not the son of Joseph the carpenter?

      There is so much I would love to know about Joseph. Like where and when he was born, how he spent his days, what he sounded like and what he said, or when and where he died. The last time we hear of him is on that pilgrimage to Jerusalem when Jesus was 12. I think it's safe to say that he was a man of few words, but he did what he was supposed to do. Sure, we don't know much about Joseph, but scripture gives us the most important knowledge of what kind of man he was. Joseph was a righteous man, and he may of thought that being righteous only meant doing the right thing. But, he found out that it also meant being the right person.....

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