Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The First Carpenter

Joseph. Do you ever think about what he gave up to become the father of Jesus? A child who was 100% not his, yet who he raised as his own. He is the one who taught Jesus to be a carpenter, his own trade. What must it have been like to know you are teaching God a trade that He created Himself?

When Joseph was pledged to be married to Mary, he probably thought she was a nice woman, and that they would have a routine life together. I don't kid myself to think they were in love, since they were betrothed, but I do think Joseph cared about her, after all he wouldn't have planned to "divorce her quietly" if he did not care. What must Joseph have thought when "it was discovered" that Mary was pregnant, before she even got married? I can only assume that she was pretty far along, at least far along enough that people noticed, by the time it was discovered. Joseph had every right to keep the dowry Mary's father gave him and turn her out to be stoned for what she did. Mary's life would have been ruined, and her family shamed. But he didn't do that. Joseph probably realized that people make mistakes, and he planned to divorce her quietly so she would be able to move on without the embarrassment of the whole village knowing what happened.

Of course we all know that God had other plans for Joseph, however. He was visited by an angel in a dream, verifying the story that Mary had told him herself. Now this is where Joseph amazes me the most. He risks his own reputation to marry Mary anyway, despite the obvious fact that she was carrying a child that was not his own. I wonder what the villagers thought. Did they assume Mary and Joseph had slept together prior to getting married? Did they think that Mary was just sleeping around and that the true father was somewhere out there? Either way, it didn't matter, not to Joseph. His reputation and Mary's were going to be ruined now, but he didn't care. He was going to be a dad...he was going to take on the biggest responsibility of his life. He was going to raise Jesus, God's son, as his own.

Talk about pressure.

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