Before discussing what Joseph knew, we should perhaps begin by considering what we know about Joseph. Despite the fact that we tend to assume we know very little, we may be surprised to discover how much in fact we do know. This is even more surprising when we consider that in the entire scriptural narrative, Joseph never says a word.
“And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ” (Matt. 1:16).
Summary of the Text:
Matthew gives us an account of the genealogy of Joseph, descended from David, meaning that Christ’s covenantal lineage was Davidic, as well as His physical lineage (through Mary) being also, as is likely, Davidic. The fact that genealogies are given the place they have in Scripture should indicate to us that they are important, and not given to us so that we might have occasion to roll our eyes at all the begats.
What We Know:
We know that Joseph’s father was a man named Jacob (Matt. 1:16). We know that Joseph was of the royal Davidic line (Matt. 1:6). Luke makes a point of telling us this (Luke 1:27), just as the angel had called Joseph a son of the house of David. We know that Joseph was a good man, both righteous and merciful (Matt. 1:19). We know that he was a prophet—an angel appeared to him in a dream and gave him a word from God (Matt. 1:20). We know that Joseph was an obedient man—when he woke from sleep, he did just what the angel had commanded him in that dream (Matt. 1:24). When the Lord’s life was in danger, God entrusted the protection of the Messiah to Joseph, sending an angelic warning in a second dream (Matt. 2:13). God led that family through the head of the family. After Herod died, God gave Joseph a third dream (Matt. 2:19). We know that the legal and covenantal lineage of Jesus was reckoned through Joseph, because that is how Jesus came to be born in Bethlehem (Luke 2:4), and the prophet had insisted that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2).
This is a meal that feeds us spiritually, and we should make a point of understanding how this relates to something we call stress. At this time of year, almost all of us have additional responsibilities, and some of us have quite a few additional responsibilities. This might be a function of Christmas preparations, or finals, or both. This means that all of us have quite a bit of additional stress. That can be good or bad, depending.
This is spiritual food and food feeds you so that you can work. The expenditure of energy, spiritual or otherwise, is not possible apart from stress. Muscles that are totally relaxed cannot do anything. This same thing is true of your spiritual muscles—you are fed so that you alternate between stress and relaxation in a rhythmical way, which is what work is. But this kind of stress is what enables you to sleep well, to sit down at a meal with gratitude. Godly stress makes you tired and hungry, which is a good thing to be. It is a great condition to be in, and it is all because of stress.
When the Bible calls us to holiness, which it does, it is not calling us to a fastidious primness that pretends to be holiness. Neither does it call us to a raw effort that refuses to touch the unclean thing externally, even though the heart does nothing but paw and fondle the unclean thing. And the Word does not call us to the kind of license that indulges in vice at levels less outrageous than what the pagans do, and calls it Christian liberty.
The kind of holiness we are called to is the kind that wants to be righteous, that wants to be like Jesus, that wants to be free from sin. Apart from Jesus, no man has even enjoyed this kind of holiness completely, but because of Jesus, many have enjoyed a genuine experience of this liberty.
“From the moment Simeon spoke those fateful words, the winnowing has been in effect. Come to Jesus or go away. In Him is light, and away from Him is only darkness” (God Rest Ye Merry, p. 31).
“Though it be not true that ‘ridicule is the test of truth,’ it is certainly a very effective way of refuting pretentious falsehood” (Broadus, Preparation and Delivery, p. 203).
The president’s Twitter account recently sent out this small dribbly contribution to the oceans of illiteracy that already exist out there. What’s another half pint?
Here’s how to improve our economy and create hundreds of thousands of jobs: #RaiseTheWage. http://OFA.BO/tXMYUq pic.twitter.com/UDTcTSaqZJ
So here’s the comeback, and I must say that it is hard to type and snort at the same time.
So why don’t we just raise the minimum wage to a hundred dollars an hour and make everybody well off? Or, while we are in this compassion groove, why don’t we make it a hundred dollars a minute and make everybody fabulously wealthy? To reply that employers don’t have that kind of money to spare is to betray a churlish spirit, and is frankly unworthy of you. Why should we allow a detail like “not having the money” stand between us and the right thing to do?
“But in the face of this false doctrine, God was made flesh. This means that we may build, sew, pick up a knife and fork, make love, spank our kids, shovel the walk, and do all to the glory of God. Earthiness is not the gospel, but the gospel did come to earth. Earthiness is no savior, but earthiness is saved” (God Rest Ye Merry, pp. 26-27).
“In one sense, of course, Jesus is the reason for the season. But in another fundamental sense, sin is the reason for the season. We have not entered into a season of feel-goodism, where we think about soft snow and candlelight, with silver bells in the distance. Remember Ramah weeping for her children, remember our abortion mills, remember how dark this world is without Christ, and then cling in faith to the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ” (God Rest Ye Merry, p. 26).