When a Father Believes

Tuesday, January 3, 2022

Psalm/Proverb Reading: Psalm 2

New Testament Reading: Matthew 1

While it might seem that Christmas is far behind us in the rear view mirror, technically we are on the tenth day of Christmas, when the lords are leaping. Today’s reading crosses paths with the humble, yet noble beginning of our Savior that we have been well-seasoned in.  The genealogy presents Jesus as the rightful heir to the kingship of Israel.  What is peculiar about Matthew’s opening, our first reading of the gospels, is the line which he chooses.  Jesus is presented as heir to the throne through his adopted earthly father, Joseph. Unfortunately, during our advent season, the role of the Son of Man’s early father is often downplayed, as the screen time is often given to Mary, the shepherds, the wise man, John the Baptist, even Simeon, yet the story of Joseph is often skipped or scrapped as much as the the genealogies.  I think there is much we can learn from his story.

The first lesson we can learn from the narrative of Joseph is God wanted Jesus to have an earthly Father. It is sad to see and say, but that the role of the father in our present day and age has been reduced to the punchline of a sitcom.  Dads are important. The statistics show that when a mother alone attends church with her children, the chances that her children will grow to be a regular attender is a one in fifty chance.  However, when the father attends, the effect is fiftyfold. The statistics are baffling but speak to the point of the subtle, yet intentional role of the father’s influence on the family. From the scriptures we can see that Joseph took his family to synagogue. From the intentionality in God’s plan, I don’t think it would be farfetched to say that Joseph did even more for the spiritual upbringing of Jesus, going beyond giving him a ride to church and providing a model and example of a life dedicated to God.

Next, in the face of disgrace, Joseph showed compassion. Joseph didn’t need to take a paternity test to know he wasn’t the father. By His measure, he had not done anything dishonorable. It was well within his right to expose Mary, and not only break their engagement, but to have her stoned to death.  While there isn’t much to this part of the narrative, so we don’t know all the nitty-gritty details, we can see that Joseph made it a point not to disgrace Mary. We can empathize with Joseph because he didn’t have all the facts or at least was confronted with a moment which required great faith.  It is likely that he doubted and refused to believe, but he didn’t give into his anger, instead choosing a merciful course of action to deal with what he thought was sin.  As people who experience mistakes, either done to us or by us, let us show grace.

“When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.” – Matthew 1:24

Finally, God spoke directly to Joseph, and he immediately took action. When an angel of the Lord delivers the life-changing message to Joseph, he changes his course to follow the Lord’s direction.  He takes Mary as his wife.  He waits to consummate the marriage. He names his son, Jesus.  In tomorrow’s reading we’ll see he moves on direct instructions in the middle of the night in order to protect his wife and newborn child. He then again waits and listens for the voice of God before he returns home. I am positive that Joseph continued to listen for the voice of God long after the toddler stage of Jesus. Joseph became closely aligned to his Heavenly Father by listening for His voice. We too, have the same opportunity.  The Word of God has been delivered to us.  We simply need to open our Bible, click on a link, and the words are as clear as an angel’s voice in the midst of our dreams. If we are seeking God, we must allow ourselves to be convicted: to change course and take action.  While we may not be rearing the adopted Son of God, we all have an opportunity to speak with our lives to those adopted through Jesus Christ, as mothers and fathers of faith.

-Aaron Winner

Reflection Questions

  1. What do you think Jesus may have learned from Joseph, his earthly father?
  2. To whom, and how, can you be a mother or father of faith?
  3. In my Bible reading today, I found God to be________________.

And, as an extra little bonus, in preparation for adding in our Old Testament Bible Reading tomorrow, beginning with Genesis 1&2 – here is the…

Introduction to the Book of Genesis

The book of Genesis is probably the most important book ever written.  The word Genesis means “origin.”  The book of Genesis contains the history of the origin of:

  • the universe
  • the solar system
  • the atmosphere
  • life
  • man
  • marriage
  • evil and death
  • languages
  • government
  • culture
  • nations
  • religion
  • God’s chosen people

No other book of the Bible is quoted or referred to as often as Genesis – in other books of the Bible.  I have read that there are at least 200 quotations or allusions to Genesis in the New Testament.

If Genesis were eliminated from the Bible, the rest of the Bible would be impossible to understand.  For example, look at these comparisons between the first few chapters of Genesis and the last few chapters of Revelation:

Genesis Revelation

Division of light and darkness (1:4) — No night there (21:25)

Division of land and sea (1:10) — No more sea (21:1)

Rule of sun and moon (1:16) — No need of sun or moon (21:23)

Man in a prepared garden (2:8, 9) — Man in prepared city (21:2)

River flowing out of Eden (2:10) — River flowing from God’s throne (22:1)

Gold in the land (2:12) — Gold in the city (21:21)

Tree of life in the midst of garden (2:9) — Tree of life throughout city (22:2)

Precious stones (2:12) — All manner of precious stones (21:19)

God walking in garden (3:8) — God dwelling with HIS people (21:3)

Cursed World (Genesis) Eternal World (Revelation)

Cursed ground (3:17) — No more curse (22:3)

Daily sorrow (3:17) — No more sorrow (21:4)

Thorns and thistles (3:18) — No more pain (21:4)

Sweat on face (3:19) — Tears wiped away (21:4)

Returning to dust (3:19) — No more death (21:4)

Evil continually (6:5) — Nothing that defiles (21:27)

Coats of skins (3:21) — Fine linen, white and clean (19:14)

Satan opposing (3:15) — Satan banished (20:10)

Kept from tree of life (3:24) — Access to tree of life (22:14)

Banished from garden (3:23) — Free to enter city (22:14)

Some suggest that Genesis (at least the first 11 chapters) are an allegory, and not historically accurate.

If Genesis were not historically trustworthy, then neither is the rest of the Bible, including what it says about Jesus.  If Adam is only an allegory, then by all logic, so is Christ.  Genesis is not a collection of myths and legends, but a factual record of real events and real people, possibly even diaries of those people at the beginning of history.

The book of Genesis is written in the form of narrative records of historical events.  Biblical parallels to Genesis are found in such books as Kings, Chronicles, Luke, and Acts.  In all of these, the writer either collected previous documents and edited them (e.g. I and II Kings, I and II Chronicles), or else recorded the events which he had either seen himself or had collected from others who were witnesses (e.g.  Luke, Acts).

Moses actually wrote Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.  Moses likely compiled and possibly edited the material in the book of Genesis, with the Holy Spirit guiding him in this process.  The original material may have been passed down, from father to son, via the line of the patriarchs listed in Genesis.  It may be that Adam, Noah, Shem, Terah, and others each wrote down an individual account of the events which had occurred during his own lifetime.  These records presumably were kept in such a way that they would be preserved until they finally came into Moses’ possession.

It is probable that these original documents can still be recognized by the key phrase:  “These are the generations of…”  The word “generations” is a translation of the Hebrew word “toledoth,” and means “origins” or “records of the origins.”

“These are the generations of the heavens and the earth” Gen 2:4

“This is the written account of the generations of Adam” Gen 5:1 (This suggests these were written)

“These are the generations of Noah” Gen 6:9

“Now these are the generations of the sons of Noah” Gen 10:1

“These are the generations of Shem” Gen 11:10

“Now these are the generations of Terah” Gen 11:27

“Now these are the generations of Ishmael” Gen 25:12

“And these are the generations of Isaac, Abraham’s son” Gen 25:19

“Now these are the generations of Esau” Gen 36:1

“And these are the generations of Esau” Gen 36:9

“These are the generations of Jacob” Gen 37:2

An understanding of Genesis is vital to an understanding of the eternal plan of GOD.  Strap yourselves in as we prepare to read through God’s word again this year.

-Steve Mattison

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