What Happened To Joseph, Father of Jesus?

What Happened To Joseph, Father of Jesus?

Where the heck is Joseph?
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Recently, I read all four gospels in their entirety; that is, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. According to certain translations, that's roughly 84,000 words. And you know what struck me? Well, many things actually, like

Why don't I do this more often?

I actually like reading the Bible.

Wow, I had no idea Jesus said that.

Wait, what?

That last one happened uncomfortably often, and I had to pose questions to facets of my faith I had never thought about before. Strangely though, out of the thousands of topics I could go into based on Jesus' life, death, resurrection, ascension, miracles, teachings, worldview, identity, disciples, etc., the thing that stuck out to me maybe more than it should have was actually something that wasn't mentioned.

Where the heck is Joseph?

You know, the guy who was doing just fine in life until he thought his bride was fooling around (I mean, who wouldn't? Unless of course you were told in a vision that what really happened was the Holy Spirit did some unexplainable, fancy shmancy "I'm God; I do what I want" stuff inside Mary's virgin womb... oh, wait...). Literally all we know about this guy is that he was a descendant of David and the royal line, he was engaged to and eventually married Mary, he didn't have sex with her until after Jesus was born, he was a righteous and gracious man, he followed Jewish customs, he probably wasn't too overbearing (he did lose the Son of God for a good three days), and he listened to angels when they show up in dreams. That's it. The earthly father of the most important man to ever walk the face of the earth is virtually an extra in the movie of Jesus' life.

But, why?

Turns out there a few theories. I did some digging, and Josephology is a real theological study sating back as far as AD 800 and growing in the Catholic tradition especially in the 16th century. It is pretty common scholarly thought that Joseph was a good bit older than Mary, and that he died before Jesus' ministry began. He isn't mentioned to be present with Mary and Jesus at the wedding in Cana, where Jesus' first sign of changing water into wine takes place. He definitely isn't around at Jesus' death, where Jesus bonds his disciple John to his mother, Mary, so that she will be taken care of. Furthermore, Jesus' body after death is taken charge of by Joseph of Arimathea, a role his father would have taken on had he been alive. Many think that when Jesus' dedication takes place in Luke 2, Joseph's death before Jesus' rise as a rabbi is foreshadowed when Simeon tells Mary she will live to be touched by Jesus' ministry.

I have heard some thought processes of Joseph potentially being ashamed of Jesus' abandonment of his family, trade, and home. Many thought that Jesus was a blasphemous radical; that certainly wouldn't have been a reputation you would want to know your son by. But I don't find this convincing given the circumstances of Jesus' birth, his claim of authority as early as age twelve, and his dedication at the temple. Furthermore, knowing that Joseph is regarded by God to be a righteous man (at least enough that he gets to father the Savior of the world, no pressure), he would have no standing to leave his family.

Based on this evidence, I find the straightforward, surface level reading of the text to indicate that Joseph died an uneventful death of old age prior to Jesus' ministry beginning. Looking deeper though, I think even God's providence was at work here. Joseph's absence leaves no room to question who Jesus' Father is. This makes the Gospel of John even more astonishing to read, as Jesus knows the Father, is in the Father, and is worked through by the Father, even as the Father. This has deep theological implications for our faith on multiple levels, and I regard that as a very good thing.

Cover Image Credit: Childhood of Christ

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A Letter To My Humans On Our Last Day Together

We never thought this day would come.
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I didn't sleep much last night after I saw your tears. I would have gotten up to snuggle you, but I am just too weak. We both know my time with you is coming close to its end, and I just can't believe it how fast it has happened.

I remember the first time I saw you like it was yesterday.

You guys were squealing and jumping all around, because you were going home with a new dog. Dad, I can still feel your strong hands lifting me from the crate where the rest of my puppy brothers and sisters were snuggled around my warm, comforting puppy Momma. You held me up so that my chunky belly and floppy wrinkles squished my face together, and looked me right in the eyes, grinning, “She's the one."

I was so nervous on the way to my new home, I really didn't know what to expect.

But now, 12 years later as I sit in the sun on the front porch, trying to keep my wise, old eyes open, I am so grateful for you. We have been through it all together.

Twelve “First Days of School." Losing your first teeth. Watching Mom hang great tests on the refrigerator. Letting you guys use my fur as a tissue for your tears. Sneaking Halloween candy from your pillowcases.

Keeping quiet while Santa put your gifts under the tree each year. Never telling Mom and Dad when everyone started sneaking around. Being at the door to greet you no matter how long you were gone. Getting to be in senior pictures. Waking you up with big, sloppy kisses despite the sun not even being up.

Always going to the basement first, to make sure there wasn't anything scary. Catching your first fish. First dates. Every birthday. Prom pictures. Happily watching dad as he taught the boys how to throw every kind of ball. Chasing the sticks you threw, even though it got harder over the years.

Cuddling every time any of you weren't feeling well. Running in the sprinkler all summer long. Claiming the title “Shotgun Rider" when you guys finally learned how to drive. Watching you cry in mom and dads arms before your graduation. Feeling lost every time you went on vacation without me.

Witnessing the awkward years that you magically all overcame. Hearing my siblings learn to read. Comforting you when you lost grandma and grandpa. Listening to your phone conversations. Celebrating new jobs. Licking your scraped knees when you would fall.

Hearing your shower singing. Sidewalk chalk and bubbles in the sun. New pets. Family reunions. Sleepovers. Watching you wave goodbye to me as the jam-packed car sped up the driveway to drop you off at college. So many memories in what feels like so little time.

When the time comes today, we will all be crying. We won't want to say goodbye. My eyes might look glossy, but just know that I feel your love and I see you hugging each other. I love that, I love when we are all together.

I want you to remember the times we shared, every milestone that I got to be a part of.

I won't be waiting for you at the door anymore and my fur will slowly stop covering your clothes. It will be different, and the house will feel empty. But I will be there in spirit.

No matter how bad of a game you played, how terrible your work day was, how ugly your outfit is, how bad you smell, how much money you have, I could go on; I will always love you just the way you are. You cared for me and I cared for you. We are companions, partners in crime.

To you, I was simply a part of your life, but to me, you were my entire life.

Thank you for letting me grow up with you.

Love always,

Your family dog

Cover Image Credit: Kaitlin Murray

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Warning Labels For The Bible

If I felt like decorating my Bible with warning stickers, these would be my top ones

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Two of my friends put me up to this, so here I go.

This post is about warnings people should have about the Bible. Some of my warnings are serious and well-intentioned, while others are meant to cause a little chuckle/giggle, at the very least.

Enjoy!

Bible Warnings

Warning: Jesus likes playing hide and seek, even after he died (#Resurrection #Easterday #findthatsheep #findthatcoin).

Warning: Reading the book of Numbers might give you a headache.

Warning: There are some erotic materials in here (I'm looking at you, Song of Songs).

Warning: Don't read this if you don't want your life to change.

Warning: Bringing this to class might cause someone to ask you about your faith.

Warning: R-rated for violence, especially for all those baby massacres.

Warning: Paul is a well-intentioned chatterbox. (Like that wise best friend who always knows when to call your dummy moves out on you or give you that holy wisdom you so desire.)

Warning: Sometimes, the footnotes don't make sense and you have to do some historical background reading on your own.

Warning: Don't read John 6 if you don't want to re-evaluate the Catholic Church.

Warning: Don't be like Jonah. Big fishes are out there still, and they are #hungry.

Warning: Don't read every book in here literally (another Revelation shoutout).

Warning: Jesus proclaims that faith and works are needed, not just faith alone.

Warning: God doesn't want you to be nice, He wants you to follow Him. (God would've had Jesus start petitions instead of flipping over tables if He wanted His followers to be accommodating/nice all the time.)

Now here are some facts.

Fact: God loves you, whether you're sinning hardcore or becoming a saint.

Fact: God wants to be more than just a cartoon image in your dusty childhood Bible picture book at home.

Fact: When you read the Bible or hear it out loud in a faithful community, your life will change. You might not see it right away, but it will, and you will have more joy (not the same as happiness - it's better).

Fact: Something's holding you back from believing this, and I encourage you to address it, cuz your lack of faith is not a good look for you.

Now here is a reflection

As I was writing this list, I started realizing how many stories I know in the Bible. I also reflected on all of the stories in my life. I recalled how God has calmed my heart when I thought it would burst from anxiety. I remembered when God started and ended relationships and left me with a million life lessons because of it.

I remembered that I'm also a part of the story, and the book of Salvation History is not done - I'm a part of it, too, and I am a KEY PLAYER BABY... if I would only embrace my role more as a disciple of Christ!

Basically, I wish to live life in such a way that the warning label "Watch out, this girl's doing Christ's good work!" would be applicable to me. I wish I was on fire for Christ. I wish I was all His and never afraid of it.

Even though I'm not there yet, God has placed that desire on my heart and He will fulfill the good work He has started with me. I just have to participate.

And I hope you decide to participate, too, because being a part of God's story is the most exciting, dramatic, difficult, fulfilling, heart-wrenching (for all the right reasons), joyful, and straight up interesting thing to do while on earth.

See you next time I release a blog post!

Brooke,

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