Heroes and Villains: Joseph (Jesus' Stepdad)
Prayer and parenthood go hand in hand, don't you think? I catch myself praying in the midst of the everyday moments with my children. I pray when I'm so thankful for my blessings. I pray when the behavioral moments are tough. I pray through the unknown. I'm constantly praying for direction, leading, change, and for my children (and myself) to be the best that we can be. There are so many moments to pray and so many opportunities to pray over our children!
I love how Joseph wasn't any different. Joseph handled his entire story with prayer. He listened to God even when he could have easily passed off God's voice as just a dream and not reality. He listened to God even when what God was asking was difficult. He listened to God when he wasn't sure of which steps to take to keep Jesus safe. He was so well acquainted with prayer that He easily recognized God's voice and followed His leading.
Read Matthew 1:18-2:25
In these verses we find a man wrestling with what to do about Mary's pregnancy. Bottom line, Mary was pregnant and it was not his baby. He gets to the point where he decides to divorce her quietly when the Angel of the Lord shows up and assures him that Mary's baby was from the Holy Spirit. The angel then calls Joseph to step into this calling of parenthood by encouraging him to take Mary as his wife. Joseph does just that.
Related Post: Mary- Remembering the Call
But his calling wasn't as easy as simply stepping into parenthood. People were intent on murdering his new child. This helpless baby that wasn't even threatening at all! God didn't abandon His own Son. He didn't abandon the mission with which He sent His Son. He led Joseph, Mary, and His helpless baby to safety, fulfilling Scripture along the way.
I love this verse for two reasons. First, it shows that Joseph cared about Jesus and had taken on that heart-role of Jesus' father. Why else would he be afraid to settle in the same place that Herod's son ruled? He wanted to keep Jesus safe. Isn't that what every parent wants? Don't we all want to keep our babies (no matter how old our babies are) safe? The second reason I love this verse is that it shows Joseph, Mary, and God working together for the safety and well-being of Jesus. They worked together to fulfill this mission that was so much bigger than Joseph and Mary. They worked together to bring salvation through this baby that they were all protecting.
What we learn from Joseph
You don't have to be a biological parent to pray for your children. As I was writing this, I was reminded of Paul who didn't have any children of His own but had adopted Timothy and Titus as his spiritual children. Maybe God calls you to be a step parent. Maybe He calls you to be a spiritual parent. Maybe He calls you to be a biological parent. Regardless of which kind of parent we're called to be, prayer needs to be a huge part of our parenthood!
He chose to submit to his calling as Jesus' stepdad. He submitted knowing the difficulty of this calling. I think about how Mary would have had to bear the whispers, the judgmental stares, and the harsh words that come with having a child outside of her marriage. Mary wasn't the only one who would bear the weight of her calling, Joseph was there to bear it with her. They both knew the truth of their situation and they both willingly trusted God through it all. We might not be walking through the same exact situation as Joseph and Mary, but when we boil our situations down, it comes down to trust. Do we trust that God will lead us, guide us, and protect us through this journey? Do we trust that He is Sovereign? Do we entrust our parenting journey to Him?
Related Post: I Trust You
He chose to protect Jesus. When Joseph submitted to His calling, He submitted to protect Jesus. When he submitted to His calling, Joseph submitted to make sure that as far as it depended on him, Jesus lived out His purpose on earth. Parenthood is a calling to do our part to see that our children live out their God-given callings.
Want to receive each post by email? Enter your email address and subscribe. The button is in the side bar on the right hand side of the screen!
He relied on obedience to keep Jesus safe. He relied on God to keep Jesus safe. Relying on God in this matter relied on obedience to God's direction. Parenting doesn't allow for us to become lax in our duties, our actions and inactions have the potential to affect eternity! Parenting relies on obedience to God's direction and leading. As much as we might know our children, God knows them even better. Do we trust that God has His best in mind for our children? Do we trust that He will take care of them and lead them where they should go?