Joseph… A Mid-wife?

I was reflecting and thinking about Joseph from the New Testament.  By the way he was a wonderful step-father and a committed man of God who was filled with integrity.

So the story goes that Mary and Joseph couldn’t even get a room, and they ended up camping out in a stable or cave, or something like that.

Now the Bible doesn’t specifically say this, but I have to believe that Joseph helped in the delivery of his step-son Jesus.  Joseph was perhaps the New Testament’s first male mid-wife!  (That kind of involvement in family life for a man in that culture and that time period would have been unheard of.)

I know that the Bible doesn’t say it specifically, but it also didn’t say that some other midwife, or female help in this delivery.  Could Mary have done it all by herself?  That is unlikely.  I was present at the birth of all 4 of my children, and even though my wife is amazing she (like any other woman) needed an extra hand in delivering our children.  (A hand…and maybe some oxytocin…)

 

When you think about it, if Joseph was a participant in this delivery, it speaks to something incredible in regards to the role of men in their families that goes beyond provider and protector.   It reflects on men being present for any aspect of family life.  (No matter if it’s perceived as “feminine” or “women’s work”.)  I think we can accept the importance of men taking on more responsibility in the home.

 

I was considering how Joseph could embody our identity as modern men in this generation.  Men of this generation (from what I’ve seen) partner with our spouses in taking care of the home and the children.  We do so in a way that has been in stark contrast with our predecessors from the 1950’s and even the 1960’s.  (So ladies, cut us some slack…sometimes!)

 

So whatever, and however God desires us to participate in, and partner with our spouses in our home and families, as men we need to do it as the will of God.  It may be delivering a child (hopefully not) or making their lunches.  We are a new kind of men in today’s society, today’s generation.

(If you’re not married, take notes.)

One more thing, Joseph was a man of sexual integrity, and I deeply admire that about him.   He never touched Mary (sexually – till after the birth of Jesus), and it was not because he was commanded not to, but he put his own desires behind the well being of his wife and God’s plan.  (Men, we won’t die if we don’t have sex.)

Speaking of sexual integrity, next time I want to talk about what the Bible says about sexual integrity through scriptures you have never heard read on Sunday morning…  Trust me, I’m telling you the truth.  (Try Genesis 38 for size…)

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No Ordinary “Joe” Part 2 – Sex and the Sound of Music

An Interview with Joseph – Part 2

So what if we could actually interview Joseph the step-father of Jesus…. What would he say to us?  This is a continuation of that interview based in Matthew chapter 2…

Question:  Hello again Joseph, I hope you had a great Christmas

Joseph:  I always do!

Q:  Now Joseph, I’ve got a personal question, and I hope I don’t offend you.

J:  Go ahead.

Q: Now, you’re a regular guy right?

J: <laughs> I believe so.

Q: Flesh and blood, regular urges and all.  Right?

J: Yeah

Q: Did the Angel tell you not to “know” Mary until Jesus was born?  I mean, did God tell you to keep your hands off your wife, or was it your personal decision?

J: That’s a fair question.  No, the Angel didn’t tell me that but…We all belong to God.  I do.  You do.  Mary does.  I didn’t want to do anything to complicate the will of God.  God was using her to fulfill something wonderful and to be honest, it was more important than my physical desires.  Was it all me?  I doubt it, I’m sure God’s Spirit was whispering to me to do the right thing.

Q: And what I think you’re getting at is that the “wrong thing” isn’t necessarily “wrong”, but the “right thing” is the right thing.  Makes me ask the question, what’s wrong with us guys and our sexual desires?  Why do they seem to hijack our lives thinking and thought?

J: Well, I’m sure you know that the truth of the matter is that God made us differently.  Men are different from women.  We’re not better or worse, just different.  If He could help me, He can help anyone.  Besides, I knew that that was the right thing for Mary as well.  Can you imagine what she must have been going through?

Q: Well enough of that line of questioning-

J:  May I add one more thing?

Q: Sure go ahead.

J: We do have power over our desires.  They were made to serve us, not we to serve them.  Whether you’re 1st century or 21st century, it’s all the same.  Don’t you agree?

Q: I think you’re right.  One more question.  What’s with all this dreaming stuff?  Why did God guide you through dreams?  I have a family, but I can’t remember ever making decisions through dreams.

J: You know, that’s just my thing.  That’s how God chose to communicate with me.   As the head of your family, God will speak to you in whatever way He desires.  Sometimes <laughs> the voice of God sounds like the voice of your wife!  Mary did say the same thing God did.  The important thing is that when we as men know God’s will and leading, we need to act.   We need to be obedient.

Q: When God warned you to get out of Bethlehem, you took the “night train” and got out of Austria like the von Trapps?

J: Huh?

Q:  Sound of Music – the NAZI’s…  Sorry, cultural reference!  You immediately snuck out under the cover of darkness to save the lives of your family.

J: Absolutely.  Listen, if God tells you to “get out”, then get out.  If He’s talking about a relationship, then get out… if it’s a business partnership… get out…if it’s the place where you’re living…then get out.  And, get out as fast as you can.   There’s no shame in running as fast as you can away from the thing that’s going to harm you and your family.

Q: Yeah.  I often wonder what the other Austrian men were doing when they saw Mr von Trapp getting out of Germany in the 1930’s before the  NAZI’s moved in!   Joseph, It’s been great speaking with you.  Any final thoughts to leave us with?

J: Yes.  Men, you’re more important than you think.  We’re all ordinary “Joes”, but the spectacular thing is that God has woven our lives into His extraordinary plan!  All the best in 2014!

The ordinary, “No Ordinary” Joe “

Joseph: “The Ordinary – No Ordinary Joe”  Questions and Answers with Joseph the Step-Father of Jesus

Hey everyone.  What if we could speak  to the most famous step-father of all time?  What do you think Joseph would say?  What do you think he would say to us?  The following Q/A was inspired from Matthew 1:19-21.

Q: Hello Joseph, it’s pretty amazing to have a living legend on the Genesis Man “Question and Answer” Blog.  The first thing I’de like to ask you about is this;  The Bible calls you a “just man”. What do you have to say about that?

J: Well that seems like pretty high praise that I don’t feel I deserve… I just try to do the best I can. I try to be fair. I try to live the way that God wants me to live. I try to do the right things.  That’s all.

Q: Don’t sell your self short. You could have publicly humiliated Mary, because after all you thought she got herself pregnant when engage to you!

J: I guess so. If by not “getting even with her” makes me a just man…well, I don’t know. But, the “acceptable” thing to do is not always the “right thing” to do. Just because you are allowed to do something, doesn’t mean you should.   Besides, somewhere deep inside of me,  beside my anger and disbelief, I still loved Mary. Despite what I thought was her mistake at the time, I still wanted her to have a chance at life, even if that life would be with out me. If that’s grace, well, I know that’s what God would do for me.

Q: As a man, you did something that most of us should do more of… thinking! While you were struggling with your decision, something extraordinary happened. What was it?

J: I fell asleep, I don’t remember if it was the evening or the night -I had been exhausted lately. An angel appeared to me in a dream, and challenged something that we all have deep inside us as men: fear. The angel commanded me not to be afraid to do the thing that I didn’t want to do. The angel told me not to be afraid to take Mary as my wife…

Q: Why do you think we as men are afraid to do the things we know deep down inside we really should do?

J: That’s a great question. All I can say was that I was afraid of the ridicule. I was afraid of turning my life upside down. I don’t know what your society is like, but family and community is all I have! Food, clothing, acceptance…there is no life apart from family and community.  It’s all we have in first century Palestine! We can’t move. How could we move?   Where could we go to get away from the controversy?  Family and community is life, and to put that in jeopardy…well, I was afraid of loosing that!

Q: Yeah. Sometimes as men we are afraid to commit, we’re afraid to act the way we should. We’re afraid to follow through with the actions that God wants us to do. But we can’t all have our buts kicked by an angel…

J: True. But the angel helped me to believe something incredible…Mary was made pregnant by the Holy Spirit! I’m sorry but no matter how “just” you are, well that’s going to need some verification…but on some level I was willing to believe that even before the angel. I mean, I know my scripture and prophecy, it just seemed incredible that my life could somehow be part of a greater will and plan of God.

Q: Isn’t that something that all of us as men should realize that God has a plan for us. We are part of the greater will of God.  We are not free agents!

J:  Free agents?

Q: Think about representing your self and not a country in the Olympic Games.

J: Oh, Okay.  Well, God has a plan for us! Imagine the angel telling me that Mary’s son is to be called Jesus, and He would save people from their sins!  And how about flying further in the face of tradition.  “Name him  Jesus”?  No one in my family is named Jesus!  However, I guess that if I was “on board” with the whole pregnancy thing, one more abnormal thing wouldn’t really matter!  Would it?

Q: I guess not.We’ll continue this interview shortly, and I want to ask you next time about your decision to keep your hands off Mary until after Jesus’ birth.