December 26, 2011

Joseph, chosen to 'father' Jesus

I wanted to talk about Joseph, the father who raised Jesus.  He's often overlooked in the story of the nativity, as if he didn't matter in the story so much.  But he did matter.  Without him, the story may not have played out at all.

Joseph was pivotal because he kept Mary alive.  Remember that because people thought she was breaking a big commandment—not to commit adultery—she was subject to penalties under the Jewish law.  In their culture, she was actually subject to being stoned to death!  Adulterers were stoned!  But Heavenly Father had prepared for this by sending Joseph.  

Because Joseph loved Mary and had already asked for Mary's hand in marriage, he became the one who had the right to stone her.  As her fianc√©, he suddenly had the loudest voice in the matter.  After an angel came to Joseph and explained that the child she was expecting was the Son of God and He would come to save the world, Joseph believed Mary.  And Joseph knew he couldn't do anything to hurt her.  In fact, Joseph would do all he could to protect her.  So instead of stoning her, or even just allowing the village to stone her, Joseph claimed the child as his child, bringing the shame upon himself instead.  Now everyone in the village thought he also had committed adultery and looked at him suspiciously too.

Additionally, Joseph then protected Jesus when the angel came and warned them to flee to Egypt because Herod was killing all of the Jewish baby boys.  Joseph was a good father to Jesus and taught him how to be a Carpenter.  It must have been humbling to be Jesus' father!  How would you know what to teach him?  

Joseph was carefully chosen to be the earthly father of Jesus.  What an honor that changed Joseph's life forever!  I'm grateful for good men like Joseph who are ready and willing to do what the Lord asks, even if it makes their lives harder for a while.  They trust in God, perhaps not knowing how it will all turn out.  But Heavenly Father knows the end from the beginning and so these men become part of a great work directed by Heavenly Father! 

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