Joseph & Jesus
I’ve been reading the Christmas story in the Gospels the past two weeks. My time in the Word has been utterly revelatory. Father, God has been speaking to me in His kind voice and uncovering treasures of the Christmas story that I didn’t even know were there. Such was the post from Friday about Zechariah.
After having my mind blow up over Zechariah, God led me to read through the first chapter of Matthew. That’s when my eyes were drawn over and over to this heading:
Joseph Accepts Jesus as His Son
On the surface, nothing is noteworthy to most. However, for me. I was drawn over and over to the implications of this heading and then the passage that followed. And that’s because, in my Healing Prayer sessions, over and over again, I pray with believers to restore their voice.
So much of human misery is cloaked in lost identity, the result of rejection. This passage in Matthew 1:18-25 is about this very issue. This is the telling of Joseph’s tremendous struggle, which until today, I've never considered the enormity of what is happening here. As I read, I pondered. Why would God include the story in the Bible about Joseph’s struggle to accept an illegitimate child?
Joseph’s story is the story of humanity. We are all illegitimate. Born into a world that is harsh, unkind, brutal. And we find ourselves far away from our Father in heaven. As I mentioned, in nearly every prayer session, I help believers discover when and how their voice and identity was taken and then gently lead them through healing from a deep soul wound of voicelessness and rejection. It grieves me that many people live decades under words of pain, most often inflicted by a parent. And my friends, this is at the core of tremendous wounding in men! Most men are desperate to be accepted by their Father.
I guess that explains why I was drawn to the words: Joseph ACCEPTS Jesus as his son. I can’t tell you how many people long for the same. We LONG for acceptance by others of our authentic self.
I’m convinced that our good Father purposed this passage as a blueprint for family.
This man, Joseph legally and religiously was entitled, as well as expected, to walk away from Mary and the baby. Remember, Joe had already determined to divorce her. In ancient Hebrew culture, an engagement is the beginning of a marriage contract. They were considered married, yet unconsummated. As I think about Joseph, I see this play out day after day in our modern society.
Joseph was unwilling to face the shaming, the rejection of his own family (usually a controlling mother or harsh father) nor the disgrace of a marriage to a perceived “stained woman” some would say – a whore. How often are marriages doomed because of parental shaming, ignorance, misguided expectations.... the list is endless.
Yet in a dream. A DREAM, no less! (Side note: I wonder how many times God has told us to do the right thing or answered our prayers and we didn’t recognize it was Him because He communicated in a way we refused to validate????)
Back to the dream: A nighttime visitation. The Lord said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.”
Upon reading this verse, revelation then began to emerge in my mind. My dear friends, this passage is in the Word for all of us. It’s the LORD speaking. This is also our “Dream from the Lord” written in antiquity for all generations of believers.
Joseph accepted wholeheartedly the enormous, life-long task of raising a child that was not his own. He willingly and with gravity, accepted the mandate upon his life to love and protect someone that society said he should reject. Isn’t this similar to our lifelong mandate in our SUM marriages? Hmmmmmm
May I ask you a question as we ponder this underlying wisdom within the Christmas story? Who is God asking you to accept? Is it a step-child? If so, decide today to no longer call that child (step) but embrace that child as son, daughter. Decide to never say the word, step, again to them or in their presence.
Is the Lord asking you to accept and “see” the broken, the angry, those crying inside, the vulgar, the sinner, yourself?
Have you accepted who you really are? Is the LORD calling out to you, “You are Worthy of love. You are worthy to be protected. You are worthy to be cherished and nurtured.”
Forgive those who rejected the “real” you. Ask for help if needed. Fully forgive and let go of the bitterness that holds you in chains of regret and anger.
This profound story in the telling of the birth of Christ, resonates throughout the centuries and remains vitally powerful today.
Listen as our Father speaks with tenderness and truth in His voice, “I love you. I accept you just as you are. You are already perfect to Me. My favorite things about you is your quirkiness, your weaknesses, your tender heart and all the things about you that others criticized. I love YOU!”
Let’s ask the Lord a question on this day in December. Ready?
Jesus, who do I need to accept?
What did you hear?
Now let’s ask this: Jesus, how do you want me to proceed to show love and acceptance to this person(s)? Jesus, how do you want me to show love to myself?
The road to Bethlehem is filled with lessons of love and God’s wisdom. Walk we me a bit further. By December 25th it’s possible that we will have walked into a new season of powerful awareness, freedom, and healing.
And isn’t that what the birth of Jesus is all about?
Share in the comments if you are able, the name you need to forgive/accept. I will pray with you.