1996-12-06 - Joseph of Nazareth
The Christmas Characters Series, Part 1
During this Advent season, I hope to focus in on a few special aspects of the story of the birth of Jesus. All this is, amazing as it is, from the birth of the Savior, to the star and the visiting astrologers from the east, are simply a prelude to the greatest story ever told: the passion, death and resurrection of our Messiah and Lord. The amazing love shown by God to lower Himself from his omnipotent position, to humble Himself and take on human flesh to reach down to fallen mankind, and make a way home, is the central focus of history. The world today chooses to look the other way. I pray when they do look, you and I will be standing in their field of view showing them the same love.
Matthew 1:19 - And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man, and not wanting to disgrace her, desired to put her away secretly. 20 But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for that which has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 And she shall bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for it is He who will save His people from their sins." ... 24 And Joseph arose from his sleep, and did has the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took her as his wife, 25 and kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus.
In these few passages, we have the bulk of what we know about Joseph, the Step-Father of Jesus, the husband of Mary. These passages may be few, but they speak volumes.
There is wonderful, delightful irony in all of this. Joseph taught Jesus to be a carpenter. The Creator of the Universe being taught to cut and plane the boards He held together by the power of His will -- otherwise, the atoms would simply fly apart. Joseph working hard to be a father to the Son of God who planned Joseph's existence in eternity past. Joseph taking Jesus to Synagogue to learn the scriptures that Jesus had handed to Moses and others years before.
These are two remarkable young people. It was probably the secret dream of every young girl to be the one to bear the Messiah. They were probably around the ages of 14 to 16. They were thrown into a situation they could not explain logically, and where the truth made them appear as liars, or worse. What they said and believed flew in the face of common sense and many religious beliefs. The coming Messiah would be a King, and would free the nation from their oppressors. And in the middle of all of these things, Mary and Joseph had the typical trepidations of all expectant parents to deal with, too. Joseph was now working to feed two and soon three. During the period of betrothal, the husband would make a small addition to his father's house for them. She would prepare many things for the home, and clothes, table cloths, making many of the things with her mother. The period of betrothal typically lasted about a year. All this had been cut short. Some precious things had to be sacrificed. Through it all, they stood with each other. Joseph certainly learned to lead his family quickly. Mary looked to his leadership. And both looked to God Who had honored and blessed them so greatly. Certainly they leaned on Him as they leaned on each other as they journeyed onward. Their sacrifices would not go unrewarded as they watched Jesus grow.
Lord Jesus, You selected Joseph so carefully. Thank you for his strong example, believing You when the whole world and all the logic he could muster were against him. Help we husbands to learn from his example of love and devotion to his young bride and to You. Build that kind of trusting heart into each of us. Amen.
Grace & Peace,
All verses are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) unless otherwise noted.