Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Joseph:The Essential Father--by Linden Malki
Fathers are important. Jesus had the most important Father in the universe, but it was still necessary for Him to have a hands-on Dad. We don't know a whole lot about the man God chose to be Jesus' earthly father, but let's look at what we do know. Church tradition sees Mary as having been chosen by God before her birth, and part of His plan was the man that was destined to marry her even before either of them had any idea what that plan was. He is described as being a "righteous man", but not so self-righteous that he would throw Mary to the wolves when he learned about her pregnancy. He was willing to accept what his divine dream told him, and we see him wholeheartedly taking on a truly fearsome responsibility. He was well-enough known in Nazareth that the general identification of Jesus was as the son of an established craftsman, even after Joseph's apparent passing before Jesus began His ministry.
Everything else is conjecture, but we know that God worked in partnership with this man to raise Jesus to be the man He was. It wasn't enough for Jesus to have the most awesome Mom in the world; there are some things that kids need to learn from a Dad. God created men and women to be partners in the task of raising each generation of the human race, and it is another one of those things that God requires of us beyond our own human strength. Joseph listened to God, took on the task given him, and from what we know, did it well. What he had going for him was the knowledge and strength of God with him, the thorough grounding in God's Word that Jewish men of his culture grew up with, and the partnership of a strong and Godly wife. What does this tell us about God's design for our families?