We thought we could do it all in one post, but this gospel has too much to cover. As such, you'll be getting Pt. 1 today, Pt.2 tomorrow, and hopefully the Podcast on Friday! Today, we will cover Matthew's origin story for Jesus and the life of Joseph! By the way, we've got a book on the first part of that sermon. You can get it in physical and digital copy if you want to help us out. Those links will open in a different tab, so don't worry about having to navigate back. We'll be right here while you get your copy of The Way.
Got it? Good. Let's begin...
This list includes kings both good and bad. Those who were bad were blessed despite their sin. Those who were good found greater favor in the spiritual realm. This list includes men who lived in exile based on the sins of their past. It includes men who repented and led others to do so as well. It includes men who lived in anonymity but still had an impact because of the ultimate product of their lineage.
From this list, we see that the lineage of Joseph, one that Jesus chose to associate himself with, is full of individuals who triumphed and failed. It has those who lived for God and those who wallowed in the world. God doesn't hide from any of it. Instead he shows how he triumphs through it. How? Through the product of these many faulted individuals: Joseph and Jesus.
It Takes A Good Man
Joseph was a good man. We discover this at the very introduction of him. His story doesn't begin in the temple pouring over scripture nor does it showcase him in giving to the poor. We first see Joseph agonizing over a difficult situation: What is he to do with Mary, the woman betrothed to him? She was pregnant and not by him. Joseph had every reason to make a public example of her and even have her stoned. It would have been acceptable according to the law and its application at the time. Had Joseph been a man like most of his contemporaries, Jesus would have been dead before his birth. Instead, Joseph decided to do something different. He decided to be merciful:
Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily.
That verse shows so much. A young man does not come to that mindset without being taught it. That is a mindset passed down by generations. Perhaps Jacob, Joseph's father, told him stories of how his ancestors made mistakes and needed God's mercy and thus they needed to share it with others, even those who had wronged him. For Joseph to withhold vengeance showed that he was that kind of man.
A Promise Unseen, But Still Realized
There is little written about Joseph beyond these early years and we can only assume that he died before seeing God's Promise for all of mankind begin his ministry. However Joseph remembered that Abraham never saw the multitude. Multiple generations of Hebrews never saw freedom from Egypt. Other generations never saw Jerusalem crowned as Israel's capital. Still, they followed God at the hope of being a part of that Promise's fulfillment. Joseph was of this mind. Just the opportunity to follow and serve God in His endeavor to reconcile humanity. That's what drove Joseph. It's what drove Matthew to get up from that tax collector's table. It's what should drive us to get out of ourselves and start serving God however He asks us. Will we?
Tune in tomorrow as we cover the words and actions that Jesus took that seem to only pop up in Matthew. Why is this and what do they tell us about the man who wrote the gospel and his perspective on Christ? Find out and tell a friend.
Chris Farris is the author of The Way, a manual detailing how to implement the Beatitudes into your life. He review events and other media and offers other insights into writing and working for the Kingdom of God.