Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
Annunciation to Joseph: an Embodiment of Divine Justice
V19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man ….
We are in yet another season of Advent that commemorates a time of ardent anticipation for the promised Messiah. Musing on each personality of the Advent narrative provides challenge for a renewed Christian living.
Joseph is one such person mentioned as a ‘just’ man. He is betrothed to Mary who was found to be with a child before they came together. The law of the land permitted that the culprit caught in such a criminal defiance shall be stoned to death (Deut. 22:20). Joseph, however, seems to be in great anguish – a dilemma of the righteous as to whether he should go with the letters of the law or its soul.
Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venicedisplays Shylock's attempt to pursue Antonio's “pound of flesh,” and thereby seek vengeance against him, precisely by sticking to the letter of the law within the Venetian justice system. It is then that Portia says “and earthly power doth then show likest God's, when mercy seasons justice.” In other words, kingly power seems most like God’s power when the king mixes mercy with justice.
I believe that the divine notion of justice always goes along with compassion. Joseph markedly grows into an embodiment of Divine justice who seasoned his concept of justice with understanding sympathy. Joseph apparently was more concerned of the justice that was to be imparted to Mary than that he deserved to receive. Justice, for him, was something to be overlaid with compassion and bestowed to another. The influence of this earthly father is much evident in our Lord Jesus who came down to fulfill Divine justice though the Kingdom of God. One such instance is when Jesus encounters the women who was about to be stoned as she was caught in the act of adultery. He considers justice not only as something to be received alone but also as something to be dispensed with compassion. It was more important for Joseph to uphold the honor of Mary even when his dreams were being shattered. But the Gospel says that it is to this just man that the angel graciously announces the Divine conception and extends the invitation to be part of the Divine design of restoring God’s creation to the lost glory.
Righteous God, enable us to seek the soul of the law than to stick to the letters of the law and imitate Your perception of justice throughout our life, Amen.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
The true measure of the justice of a system is the amount of protection it guarantees to the weakest. AUNG SAN SUU KYI, In Quest of Democracy
Rev Sujith Sam Mammen,
St Thomas MTC, Kaithakuzhy, Kerala.
Christian Education Forum, Diocese of NAE of the Mar Thoma Church