Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
Joseph - A man of Higher Justice1 Corinthians 13:1-13
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. Love bears all things, believe all things, hope all things, endures all things.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)
The Bible doesn't provide many details about Joseph, and there's no record of his conversation. However, his actions speak louder than words. Let's explore how Joseph's life relates to today's Bible portion, taken from 1 Corinthians 13:1-13. In this chapter, Apostle Paul discusses love and its various attributes. When we examine Joseph’s life, we see that he demonstrated different aspects of love.
Love is Kind:
Joseph treated Mary with extreme kindness. Despite the possibility of her being unfaithful, he understood the gravity of the situation. Recognizing the potential hardship or stigma upon Mary, Joseph, as a just man, chose not to make it unnecessarily difficult for her. According to Jewish law, he had the right to separate from her, and Mary could have faced stoning. However, Joseph's compassion led him to decide on a quiet divorce.
Love is Patient (Long Suffering):
Joseph's journey was one of patience. Upon learning of Mary's unexpected pregnancy, he could have reacted with haste and anger. Instead, he chose patience, allowing God's plan to unfold in His time. An angel verified Mary's story, assuring Joseph that their marriage was God's will. Despite the public humiliation he would face, Joseph willingly obeyed God. This patience and willingness to endure trials align with the description of long-suffering as mercy and patience, as noted by early church Father John Chrysostom.
Love Bears and Endures All Things:
Examining Jesus's childhood, Joseph silently fulfilled his responsibilities as an exceptional father. His endurance extended beyond the initial trial, accompanying Mary to Bethlehem, providing a humble manger for the Savior's birth, and fleeing with his family to Egypt to escape Herod's wrath. He then returned to Nazareth and taught Jesus carpentry skills. Joseph's last mention in the Bible occurred during the trip to Jerusalem when Jesus was 12 years old.
During this Advent season, let us follow Joseph's example of unconditional love and sacrifice for his family. His sacrifice ultimately gave us a Savior, Jesus, who took our sins, sickness, and conquered death on the cross. This mirrors the ultimate love of Father God, as expressed in John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Heavenly Father, Open our hearts to receive your love.
Help us to be a channel of your love to others. In Jesus' name, we pray.
Thought for the Day
It was not the nails that kept Jesus on the cross,
It was His great love for you and me.
Epiphany Mar Thoma Church, New York