Minden Press-Herald

Oct 02nd

Joseph, The Carpenter

Everyone has heard Mark Lowry's special Christmas song: Mary, Did You Know? He poses questions that must have been on Mary's 'pondering list' as she struggled through her 9-month pregnancy. Well, don't you think there were other questions asked by other people that surrounded Mary? I do.

In reading Luke's account of Jesus' birth, I'm reminded of Joseph and his doubts and struggles. This man who could trace his lineage all the way back to the Babylonian exile (14 generations); from there back to King David (14 generations); from David back to Abraham (14 more generations) -42 generations altogether! Wow, what bragging rights he had.

All of this was of great importance to the Jewish people, especially when Joseph was convinced that Mary was carrying a child that is not his. This was tough!

Imagine what that young man dealt with as he was brought face-to-face with such a damning dilemma! His promised bride expecting a child that is not his! The talk of the village -that is what it would be, and even more. He could push it to the point where by law Mary could be severely punished or stoned. But this simple carpenter was a noble man, he loved Mary to the point he did not want to bring harm or embarrassment to her. So he prepared "to take care of things quietly".And while he was trying to figure a way out of this situation, he had a dream. The angel of the Lord appeared to him and called him by name."Joseph, don't you be afraid (or hesitate) to marry Mary. She is of child,but it is 'Spirit-conceived'. She will bring forth a son and you, Joseph, shall name him Jesus. He will be save his people from their sins." What an earth-shaking dream. How distrubing! When he woke up, Joseph did exactly as God's angel commanded. He took Mary into his protection and "knew her not" until the baby was born. (The story shifts now from Matthew 1 to Luke 2).

Think of some questions Joseph had for Mary, for himself and for God! What about Joseph's parents? They were strict Jewish believers and had adhered to the Law. And Mary's parents! What were they discussing late at night about "our young innocent daughter and the older son of that carpenter! You know, Mother Nature could not hide what was visually happening right before their eyes. But perhaps God was bringing a shield of protection for the young couple when the Roman tax requirements were posted. Soon they were on their way to Bethlehem to register under the family's name. They were surrounded by strangers who had no penetrating questions to pose. There, alone in the cattle stall, our Lord, Jesus, the Messiah, was born.

Then a new set of questions and thoughts saturated Joseph's mind and heart. Why was he chosen? And Mary? How are they going to handle all of this, knowing the interaction with the angels was real. God had visited them and was fulfilling the great prophecies of the Old Testament. Yes, God had a divine plan for Joseph. It was to protect and provide, in an earthly manner, the world's Savior. The fullness of time had come, God sent forth His only begotten Son. And Joseph had the wondrous privilege of bouncing him on his knee, teaching him how to use the carpenter's tools, and all about the laws and Holy Writ of old. And Jesus grew in knowledge, wisdom and statute.

And these thoughts continued to echo in Joseph's mind: "Joseph, did you know - that one day your Son would rule all creation? Did you how He would become King of all nations? Did you ever wonder if He knew what you knew about his virgin birth? And what would be His achievements as He walked the Father's earth? Oh, Joseph, what did you know?"

Yes, I think you did know....at least enough to ease doubts and convince you that your "baby boy would one day be your own Savior".






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