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We don’t see much about Joseph, the human father figure of Jesus, in our bible. This may be the single largest view we have of him. I believe it may very well be most of what we know of him. But we can see here, God the Father did not make a poor choice in a father figure for his only begotten Son.
Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. Betrothal at this time represented a permanent relationship nearly equivalent to marriage. Breaking it off legally required a divorce.

joseph-contemplating
Matthew here tells us the child was from the Holy Spirit. But to say Mary was found with child from the Holy Spirit…to say the child was from the Holy Spirit is simply Matthews explanation with the gift of hindsight. When it says Mary was found with child….it simply means that she was with child. To anyone looking at her, including Joseph, she was knocked up. She was probably in her second trimester, because to be found to be with child, this would mean she was beginning to show. Matthew is very explicit here that Joseph had not gotten together with his betrothed wife. That would have to wait for the ceremony. This was a very scandalous pregnancy.
And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. At this point, It seems as though Joseph’s betrothed is, quite simply, an adulteress. He has never had relations with her, yet she is pregnant. And do we forget the potential penalty for adultery under the law?? “The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?”” ‭John‬ ‭8:3-5‬ ‭ESV‬‬. It was not standard practice to stone adulterers at thus time, but it was not unheard of either. But rather, Joseph here had made up his mind to divorce Mary quietly, probably simply with the certificate of divorce required by law before two or three witnesses rather than dragging her in front of a magistrate.
Mary had been gone three months visiting her relative Elizabeth, it is highly unlikely Joseph had not spoken to her since her return about the pregnancy which was showing on her. Of course she had explained it to him as best she could, but who could believe? Even if Joseph DID believe Mary, wouldn’t it simply be easier for him to simply walk away in this circumstance?

dream-of-st-joseph
But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
As he considered these things, as he thought about whatever explanation Mary had given him, an angel of the Lord came in a dream. The angel addresses Joseph very deliberately – Joseph, son of David – as a direct reminder of the promise coveted by all families in David’s line, the promise of a king to reign forever from the house of David. This was undoubtedly to prepare Joseph for what was next – that Mary was telling him the truth, her child was from the Holy Spirit, the child was the awaited king from the house of David. Joseph was to name Him Jesus, in the Hebrew “Yeshua” meaning “the Lord saves”. The fact that the angel instructs Joseph to name the child at all is a command to take responsibility for the child, it is the role of the father to name the child at the circumcision. And the child will save his people from their sins. So Jesus is not just the awaited king, not just a political Messiah, but a savior to save His people from their sins.

mary-with-gabriel
All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). The angel is finished, now we have Matthew’s interpretation as the fulfillment of prophecy (one of the themes of Matthew). So Matthew applies the birth of Jesus to the prophecy in Isaiah of the birth to a virgin, and calls Jesus “Immanuel”, God with us. And He is still with isn’t He?? “…And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”” ‭Matthew‬ ‭28:20‬ ‭ESV‬‬.

mary-with-jesus
When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.” So Joseph took his wife, but did not “have relations” until the boy was born. He named the child Yeshua, the Lord saves, just as the angel told him. So the Lord saves, salvation Himself, comes into the world born of the virgin, living as Immanuel, God with us.

emmanuel
“…And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

 

“Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭1:18-25‬ ‭ESV‬‬

http://bible.com/59/mat.1.18-25.esv

John Lewis

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10 thoughts on “A Lot to Think About

  1. Joseph’s faith is remarkable. He puts his trust in the untrustable because God wants him to, and then becomes the unhero of the whole story. His whole life spent like this for his own “son”… hmmmm… Think of Hosea who names his kids “NOT MY KIDS”!

    I cant help but recall Sam Kinison, the screaming comedian from the 80’s with the foul mouth (so I wont repeat much of what he said). But Sam had been a Baptist pastor, or something to that effect, before his showbiz career. His humor on this topic was well informed.

    He said he could imagine Joseph down at the cantina with his bowling buddies getting razzed:

    “Yeah, sure… Son of God, she said… ha ha ha ha ha, sucka”

    And then Joseph goes home, stumbles in and finds Mary and says, “Honey… You just doooooon’t know what you put me through! All I’m sayin’ is… this BETTER BE THE LAST SON OF GOD!!!”

    No. It’s not a biblical accurate portrayal of Joseph, but the pressures it highlights must be historically accurate. The shame, pain, and humiliation and perhaps jealousy of his own wife and “son”… He had to face it and embrace it. And then, for his trouble, fade from the record as his “son” goes on to shine and to be his LORD. It is, perhaps, the most amazing Bible story not told!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well said X. Joseph certainly had to be under a lot of pressure. These were difficult, real issues he had to deal with. As well as real hurts, I’m sure. He seems to just fall away, but we know he’s there, leading Jesus, looking for him on the road back from Passover, teaching him to be a carpenter. Amazing faith, amazing grace.

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  2. A little imagination – when Joseph figures it all out – from my novel, The Substance Hoped For:

    “He saw with intoxicating clarity that he would be the father to the Son of God, the father chosen by God from all of humanity to care for this special One.

    The relief was so great that Joseph could scarcely keep from laughing out loud. As he drank in the sight of his new family in the straw, he imagined that someday this Boy would tell him what all sons tell their fathers at some point in time. He fully intended to literally live up to that often subjective appellation; Best Dad on Earth.”

    Liked by 1 person

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