The Genealogy of Jesus the Messiah
1 This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham:
2 Abraham was the father of Isaac,
Isaac the father of Jacob,
Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers,
3 Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar,
Perez the father of Hezron,
Hezron the father of Ram,
4 Ram the father of Amminadab,
Amminadab the father of Nahshon,
Nahshon the father of Salmon,
5 Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab,
Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth,
Obed the father of Jesse,
6 and Jesse the father of King David.
David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife,
7 Solomon the father of Rehoboam,
Rehoboam the father of Abijah,
Abijah the father of Asa,
8 Asa the father of Jehoshaphat,
Jehoshaphat the father of Jehoram,
Jehoram the father of Uzziah,
9 Uzziah the father of Jotham,
Jotham the father of Ahaz,
Ahaz the father of Hezekiah,
10 Hezekiah the father of Manasseh,
Manasseh the father of Amon,
Amon the father of Josiah,
11 and Josiah the father of Jeconiah and his brothers at the time of the exile to Babylon.
12 After the exile to Babylon:
Jeconiah was the father of Shealtiel,
Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel,
13 Zerubbabel the father of Abihud,
Abihud the father of Eliakim,
Eliakim the father of Azor,
14 Azor the father of Zadok,
Zadok the father of Akim,
Akim the father of Elihud,
15 Elihud the father of Eleazar,
Eleazar the father of Matthan,
Matthan the father of Jacob,
16 and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, and Mary was the mother of Jesus who is called the Messiah.
17 Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Messiah.
Joseph Accepts Jesus as His Son
18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).
24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.
This week we are looking closely at the main characters of the Nativity story. Today we continue with Joseph, Jesus’ earthly father.
Imagine being Joseph - your fiancée is pregnant and not by you. Her baby is to be a king of some sort. You are tasked with accepting this shocking and potentially shameful circumstance and then raising this important child. It will be your job to teach this kid — the “Son of the Most High” — how to work, how to pray, how to follow God and be the leader to many. How do you accept this responsibility and live in a family where everyone is perfect except you? With a lot of humility and courage.
Joseph’s quiet heroism often goes overlooked in the Christmas story and in many Nativity scenes, where kings, angels, shepherds, sometimes cattle, upstage him. Yet there is something profound and compelling in Joseph. It started with some rather inconceivable news.
Not long after they became engaged, Mary tells Joseph, so the Bible says, that she is pregnant but has not had sex with any man. At that moment, Joseph could have run. Though he had committed himself to Mary, Joseph had every cultural and social “right” to void that agreement because of her pregnancy. There was probably gossip about Mary around town and many likely thought Joseph would be a fool to stay with her. He did consider getting out of the deal. He was going to do it quietly, as to not cause Mary disgrace. But an angel appeared to him and confirmed Mary’s story. He must have had a deep faith already. And he surely must have loved Mary dearly. He chose to stand by Mary the whole way, even when he couldn’t be certain what the future would hold. I can imagine him telling Mary, “ I believe you and we will get through this together, with God’s help.”
And if that wasn’t enough, after Jesus was born Joseph had to take his wife and child to Egypt to flee Herod and the threat of death. They eventually returned to Nazareth to rear the boy who someday would stump religious authorities, perform miracles of healing, preach the good news, die on a cross and return from the dead. And in the Biblical texts, Joseph drifts into obscurity after Jesus is a teenager. We really don’t know what happened to Joseph after that.
Joseph could have rejected his pregnant fiancée. He could have held her up to scorn, ridicule and possibly even stoning. He could have escaped the difficulty of raising Jesus and then having to flee his homeland to keep Jesus safe. But Joseph loved God and he loved Mary. And ultimately love wins the day. Love offers grace, overcomes obstacles, believes in the impossible and sacrifices oneself for the good of the other. How can you live by the example of Joseph? Where in your life is there a need for belief, grace, and sacrifice?
God, change my heart to be one of generosity, humility, grace and mercy. Show me how to love at all times, give freely, humble myself before others and submit myself to you. Thank you for the faith and grace Joseph. Thank you for the gift of a savior in Jesus. May I live each day in such a way to honor that gift. Amen.
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version ® NIV ®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2014 by Biblica, Inc.®. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.