Sunday, September 25, 2016

The Silent Type

My eighth graders took their third test two days ago on Friday in Bible. We spend the whole year on the Gospel of Luke with little side ventures into Matthew for the Sermon on the Mount and other New Testament books for memory verses. Part of the exam covered the story of Jesus in Jerusalem at age twelve. We mentioned the normal things. Joseph and Mary found Him in the temple where He was speaking to the amazed religious leaders. We talked of how His mother appeared the more upset of the two parents, and asking her son why He had treated them in that manner. I point out that Mary said your father referring to Joseph but the response of Jesus' my Father referred to God. I also add notes on things I think they would not know. I tell them Luke 2:49, the My Father reference, is the first time Jesus is quoted in the Bible. We also learn that this story is the last time Joseph is mentioned as being alive in the scriptures and how scholars believe he died at a young age. There really isn't a whole lot to tell!

There was one more thing I had the kiddos write or type into their notes, depending on their preference: Joseph is never quoted in the Bible. That's right- never. Not one word, phrase, or utterance. I tell my classes I believe God chose Joseph as carefully as Mary to be His earthly father. At least in childhood, Jesus would have spent more time with Joseph than any other adult male, undoubtedly learning the carpentry trade from him. But there are no revealed conversations or tidbits of advice and I have no clue as to why. And yet, in three of the four Gospels, a question is quoted about Jesus: 
"Isn't this Joseph's son?"
The crowd obviously knew who Joseph was. I'm sure he swelled with pride as do most dads when their children make good choices and stand out in times of moral questions. Who on earth would have known Joseph wasn't the biological dad but Mary? But surely it didn't matter as he raised him as his own. He saw and heard the angel and the shepherds and the wise men and Anna and Simeon in the temple early in his son's life. He took Him to Egypt to escape the wrath of Herod and where we started tonight, Joseph took his son to the Passover when was twelve, the beginning of manhood. Then.........nothing and we are left to wonder about details. It doesn't really matter because Joseph quietly fulfilled his very unique role in the redemption of mankind. He  didn't see Jesus die, but more crucially, he helped teach Him how to live. And there has never been a better definition of a dad to me.

Applicable quote of the day: 
One father is more than a hundred schoolmasters. 
George Herbert

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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