Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ

Sunday, December 17, 2006

I posted about Mary several days ago and Dugalug brought up several good points about Joseph. I have commented on it but decided to give it a post status.

Much has been focused on the mother of Jesus, most probably because she physically bore Him whereas Joseph is somehow seen as playing a lesser role. I (and Dugalug) beg to differ.

Interestingly, our Christmas Musical this year featured a full length song for Joseph, for the first time, with a monologue Joseph addressing Baby Jesus.

If you read Matthew with Luke, and the sequence of events, Mary had already met Gabriel and told Joseph about her being pregnant from the Holy Spirit. Mary told Joseph about her encounter with the angel. Joseph was disturbed and mulled over it so much so that he thought with Mary being pregnant with the Holy Spirit, he must be out of the picture now and decided to divorce her but quietly to preserve her dignity. Then he must have fell asleep. He had a dream of an angel saying that it was okay for him to marry Mary. He is still in the picture and needed for the fulfillment of the Scriptures. He is to be Jesus' earthly father - to bring Him up in the Jewish family and faith.

I feel that Joseph is being given a very important duty to be the father of the Saviour of the world. With the Jewish family centering on the son, firstborn no less, Joseph's role in Christ becoming flesh is very important.

As much as Mary was chosen, Joseph was chosen too – only that Mary being a woman who has to biologically carry the Child, she is only seen to be more in faith.

And I believe that Matthew's simple mention of this: "Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife" is as powerful as Luke's mention of Mary's "I am the Lord's servant, may it be to me as you have said."

Well, it we think about it, what else could Luke have said about Mary -- she went along her way and gave birth to a son? Possible but he has to mention Elizabeth proclaiming the Baby in her first. And I think Luke is more a story teller than Matthew with dialogues and songs, while Matthew is simple descriptive with only the angels' word in spoken form but more of a monologue.

Mary is chosen to bear, Joseph is chosen to bring up. They are both blessed.

However, what I found odd is that Joseph is not mentioned later as much as Mary.

I checked Easton Bible Dictionary: "He is last mentioned in connection with the journey to Jerusalem, when Jesus was twelve years old. It is probable that he died before Jesus entered on his public ministry. This is concluded from the fact that Mary only was present at the marriage feast in Cana of Galilee. His name does not appear in connection with the scenes of the crucifixion along with that of Mary."

Picture by Vedrana Bosnjak

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5 comment(s)

  1. This is really interesting, Maeghan. You're right, we do tend to focus on Mary so much more. Could it also be because of the emphasis always placed on her by the Catholic church? I like how you pointed out that the father was so important in Jesus' day.

    My son is named Joseph, and I'm looking forward to talking with him about this a little. Another great role model with his name.

  2. There is really so much to learn all the time from the Word of God - it is bottomless.

    It is cool to name our kids according to the great people in the bible. Good too as a way to teach them about God. I named my son Calvin :) not in the bible but quite many scholars and great men of God. However, I actually named him after Calvin in Calvin and Hobbes =D

  3. Bob,

    My family name is Joseph, and when I was a kid, I always volunteered to be Joseph in our church plays (I was ironically raised Catholic). There is truly something about names: my first name (doug), literally means 'Dark Stream' in Gaelic or fish in Hebrew: not a lot of responsibility there, but 'Joseph' literally means Jehova's increase... or loosly God's Gift... that is a whole lot more responsibility. Also, interestingly enough, my middle name is Robert. See I don't know you, yet we have such

    God Bless

  4. Maeghan,

    Great stuff! Thanks for adding to my thoughts.

    There is a lot of things that imply that Mary was a widow in both the New Testament and some of the Aprocryphal texts. But there is also a lot that show that Joseph left his mark on Jesus: to the order that Jesus was even recognized as a carpenter. This means that Jesus was raised to cary on the family-business. I wonder if Jesus was any good at wood-working?

    I wanted to add something here that is a great example to me. Jesus had a calling of ministry, but there is little doubt that until he was thirty, he was a carpenter. Was Jesus called to be a carpenter? Indeed! I tend to look at a 'calling' as the focal point of my life..., it is our identity, yet God has shown us by example that a 'calling' is merely an element in our life. Another example of this was Paul, evidently the great apostled was also a nifty tent-maker. Go Figure!

    As for Calvin, I think the great Calvin is an excellent orator for the Word of God. In fact, at least once a quarter I use one of Waterson's comic strips as the example for my message. It is an awesome name for a kid!

    God Bless

  5. I wonder if Jesus was any good at wood-working?

    Did you watch The Passion? I remember this scene where Jesus made a table table, i.e. a table regular to our time, given that their tables are short for reclining. I don't know how to describe my feelings about it -- a tad disturbing though amusing, but trivial, all at the same time.

    a 'calling' is merely an element in our life.

    Hmm ... I have to think about that :) True in a way but depends on what we mean by the word "calling". And sometimes I think we may have overemphasised the word. If I am not mistaken, most of the "calling" references in the NT refer to the calling to become children of God. But I may be wrong.

    Yes, Calvin is a great name :)