The New Testament’s unsung hero (3 of 3) – Rod Anderson

Yet Joseph was prepared to sacrifice his good name to obey God, and we know that to be the case as we turn to Matthew 13:53-56, and we read of Jesus’ second rejection in His hometown of Nazareth.

Now it came to pass, when Jesus had finished these parables, that He departed from there. 54When He had come to His own country, He taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished and said, “Where did this Man get this wisdom and these mighty works? 55Is this not the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary? And His brothers James, Joses, Simon, and Judas? 56And His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this Man get all these things?” 57So they were offended at Him.

Notice the words in verse 55, “is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary?” You see it was customary for people when speaking of a son in the second person to also refer to the Father as a sign of respect. In other words when speaking of Jesus the grammar should have been, “isn’t this Joseph’s son and isn’t this His mother called Mary.” But no, still thirty and some years later, in Nazareth itself, they simple refer to Joseph as “the carpenter.” Joseph’s good name was lost, and in those times as it is today a good name, a good reputation means everything, but when Joseph decided to marry Mary and be obedient to the will of God, he knew that his name would be slandered for the rest of his life and cost him his standing in the community. Yet he did it anyway!

During the three and a half years of Jesus’ ministry, He was continually confronted, if not accosted by those who paraded their righteous acts before men. Displaying them as a badge of honour, boasting of their good works (Matthew 6:1,2) with long elaborate prayers (Matthew 6:7) paying tithe of mint and cumin (Matthew 23:23), and feigning holy offence (Matthew 26:65). Yet, as Jesus reflected on the good works to be seen of men (Matthew 23:5) from those of Holy Orders, He could say He had seen a better type of righteousness, He had seen it firsthand in the person of His earthly father, His guardian, His protector Joseph, the great unsung hero of the New Testament, the man inspiration describes as just (Matthew 1:19).

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