Christmas Meditation 2018

 Joseph was just a carpenter thought to have been in the lower economic class of his society. How many hard-working 9 to 5 individuals are there in the world? There is nothing about his station in life, or his economic vitality, or his geo-political connections to make him a stand out on the world stage.  Joseph is a common man, a working man, a man who lives in a town called Nazareth.  It was apparently not an important place; it is not mentioned in the Old Testament, the Talmud, the Midrashim, or Josephus. Therefore, Joseph, in one sense, is a typical, ordinary, invisible man. A minor DNA drop in the human race.

Speaking of DNA, have you noticed the recent craze for people to be able to identify with their genetic makeup? People spend good money for this information. There was a time we sang the song ‘All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth.’ Now there is a desire to know the ethnic diversity from which those teeth were cut. Back in Joseph’s day, there were no DNA kits but the Hebrews were very exacting in keeping written records of their genealogies. Joseph, though common in all things worldly, is uncommon in his pedigree.

Schofield is an English name and there are those who have done research who have determined my ancestral roots can trace me back to Merry Old England. No, I did not take a DNA test. But, if I did, I am guessing my bloodline would probably look like European mutt. Now if somebody out there wants to clear this up, they could buy and send me a kit.  Just know I am not asking for it, nor do I really care. Other than I have had these youthful dreams, (not so much now that I turned 60) I may have some coat of arms and link to some lost ancestral estate in the land of King Arthur waiting to be discovered as a legitimate inheritance worth millions of pounds.  But alas, the reality of my pedigree is common, diluted, European??? and therefore mongrel. Joseph, on the other hand, can in reality trace his lineage to royalty. In Matthew’s gospel we find Joseph’s family tree. His dad’s name was Jacob. Matthew 1:16 And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.” Well I know my Dad’s name as well.  His name is Bill.  And I know my grandfather’s name is Alfred. And I know my great grandfather’s name is?????? To be honest I do not know. But Joseph can trace his family all the way back to King David. To find this, read the whole first chapter of Matthew for the pedigree.

Now then why this common façade hiding royalty? Why this carpenter’s stool instead of a throne? How come this son of David is cloaked in humble obscurity? You have heard the saying ‘you can choose your friends but you cannot choose your relatives’. Joseph comes from the direct line of David with legal claim to throne, except one of his Kingly relatives brought a curse from God. God says of King Jeconiah (Coniah’s Curse) Jeremiah 22:30 Thus saith the Lord, Write ye this man childless, a man that shall not prosper in his days: for no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David, and ruling any more in Judah.”

If Jesus had been the natural born son of Joseph, He would have come under this curse. Yet He had to be the legal son of Joseph in order to inherit the rights to the throne of David. The problem was solved by the miracle of the virgin birth: Jesus was the legal heir to the throne through Joseph. He was the real biological Son of David through Mary. Mary traces her lineage back to King David through Nathan, thus her children miss the curse since they did not descend from Jeconiah.            

Thus, this common man with uncommon pedigree is part of the legal miracle to give Jesus right to the throne of David via adoption. Joseph finds out Mary is pregnant with another man’s wife. Matthew 1:18-19Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily.”

Joseph had every legal right to divorce his betrothed wife Marry. He could have brought her before the judges as an adulterous woman and made a public spectacle of her. Yet the Scripture describes Joseph as a just man. At the expense of his own rights and expectations, he protects Mary. It is shameful enough she is pregnant with someone else’s child. He did not see the need to broadcast it further.

Matthew 1:20-25 20 “But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. 21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. 22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, 23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. 24 Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: 25 And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.”

Joseph took Mary by divine permission. Divine intervention was needed to assure this righteous man it was ok for him to have Mary as his wife. By taking Mary as his wife, he automatically becomes the adoptive stepfather of Jesus. Jesus, as an adoptive son to Joseph, receives all legal claims which belong to his earthly father. Joseph gave to Jesus legal claim to the throne of David and Mary gave the biological (seed) claim to the throne which fulfills God’s promise to King David. 2 Samuel 7:16-17 16 “And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever. 17 According to all these words, and according to all this vision, so did Nathan speak unto David.”

Now it is really good to be the son of Bill Schofield and his descendants. Without them I would not be here today. But just like Joseph’s family, so too the Schofield family is under a curse. Just as God made a way to circumvent the curse for His Son, Jesus, to make legal claim to the throne of David, Jesus made a way for our curse to be circumvented so we are not only the sons and daughters of our earthly parents, but can become the eternal children of our heavenly Father. Galatians 3:13-14 13 “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: 14 That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”

My Christmas hope and prayer for everyone who reads this letter is we are all presently adopted children or will become adopted children of one much greater than Joseph. His pedigree is without question. His love for us goes so far beyond what Joseph did for Mary. While Joseph was not wanting to make a public example of Mary’s apparent sin, Jesus became a public spectacle, naked, upon a cross to bear the curse and reality of our sin. 

Galatians 4:4-7 4 “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.”

I Wish You and Yours a Very Merry CHRISTmas,

Pastor John Schofield