Thursday, December 24, 2015
HE+ was PROCLAIMED # 5 ... Via the RIGHTEOUSNESS of His+ GUARDIAN, Joseph ... Advent Meditations 2015 ... For the Monastic-At-Heart
Matthew 1: 18 -25
Now the birth of JESUS CHRIST
was on this wise:
When as His+ mother Maryam (Aramaic/Syriac)
was espoused to Joseph,
before they came together,
she was found with CHILD+
of the HOLY SPIRIT.
her GOWRA, her guardian-husband (Aramaic/Syriac),
being a RIGHTEOUS man,
and not willing to make her a public example,
was minded to put her away privily.
But of these things he was considering (Gk, literal)
behold, the angel of the LORD
appeared unto him in a dream,
Joseph, thou son of David,
fear not to take unto thee Mariam (Gk) thy wife:
for THE ONE+ in her
has been generated ( a one-time occurence)
from out of the SPIRIT
(Greek, awkward but literal)
And she shall bring forth a SON+,
and thou shalt call His+ Name
for HE+ shall save His+ people
from their sins.
Now all this was done,
that it might be fulfilled
which was spoken of the LORD
by the prophet, saying,
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.
Then Joseph being raised from sleep
did as the angel of the LORD had bidden him,
and took unto him his wife:
And knew her not
till she had brought forth
her firstborn son:
and he called His+ Name
Heart-breaking ! Our dear brother Joseph, what troubled thoughts he must have endured for several hours after Mariam's condition was discovered.
However, Joseph was of the line of David as well as Mariam. Joseph ALSO was CHOSEN of GOD --- as well as Mariam --- for his purpose during the Incarnation of CHRIST JESUS.
The Syriac-Aramaic Peshitta text records Matthew 1:16 like this:
"Jacob fathered Joseph,
the guardian of Maryam,
was born Y'SHU+,
Who+ is called the M'SHIKHA. "
Later, in verse 19, Joseph is called Mariam's ba-al, or husband.
But the Syriac Text, which dates back to the early centuries of Christendom, tells us that Joseph was indeed functioning as a GUARDIAN for the first nine months of their marriage !
Joseph was chosen because young Mariam needed a human guardian to cover her as she carried the Divine BABE+ in her womb. Both Mariam and the BABE+ needed to be protected from the zealous righteous ones who would stone a Hebrew woman who was with child, without a husband.
When The LORD selected Joseph to protect Mariam and the Divine BABE+ in her womb, HE knew the kind of man Joseph was... and was not.
Let's ponder the righteousness exhibited by Joseph in this most trying circumstance... which, indeed, is where righteousness counts.
First of all, righteous Joseph was not willing to marry a "loose" woman who had defiled herself; he maintained the righteous standards of the Mosaic Law.
Although maintaining the Scriptural standard of righteousness, Joseph was also not willing to expose the young woman to public scorn and shunning, at best, and possible stoning. Thus, we see in Joseph that true righteousness is guided by mercy.
In a quandry, Joseph was not hasty in action, but was pondering WHAT was the right way to be righteous-yet-merciful in this harrowing situation. Joseph's integrity held him bound to doing the right thing by GOD and avoiding taking vengeance for the supposed immoral conduct of his un-faithful, betrothed wife.
In his integrity, Joseph was also bound to do that which was best for the young woman who disappointed him in her betrothal vows.
So, Joseph's decision was this:
He would keep the standard of righteousness, but Joseph would "put her away" ( dismiss her, sever the betrothal bond ) privately, to cause her and the child the least amount of wounding.
Now ... how Joseph would have been able to end the legal, public espousal covenant without exposing Mariam's condition is a puzzlement.
Would Joseph have been able to take her to another village and legally perform the divorce, and thus keep her hidden ?
The literal Greek places the adverb "secretly" between two verbs:
"... he purposed SECRETLY to dismiss her."
Could that phrase possibly be rendered with this alternative meaning ? :
Joseph secretly determined
( i.e., without asking counsel of another person
or telling anyone )
that he would divorce her.
The LORD, however, provided evidence to Joseph before he contacted the elders to divorce her. The LORD sent a SUPERNATURAL dream, re-assuring Joseph that Mariam was still chaste, and in her obedience, she was chosen to carry the Long-Awaited MESSIAH.
Chaste Joseph responded
WITH A SIMILAR level
of faith and obedience
to the Living Word of The LORD
unto him !
To his great credit, Joseph believed the Word of The LORD to him in that dream. He obeyed immediately without question... just like Mariam obeyed immediately without question.
Joseph directly took Mariam into his home and covered her and the BABE+ in her womb, providing for them and guarding them through nine long months of pregnancy amongst their fellow townspeople.
He took her with him on the long journey to Bethlehem during the taxation of Ceasar Augustus, which required both of them to be present at the registration for taxation, as it seemingly is phrased in Scripture. Luke 2:5.
This man of integrity did not claim the rights of a husband until after the BABE+ had been born.
So, not only was Joseph a righteous man of the Law, he was also a man of integrity: GOD did not have to tell him to wait until after the BABE+ was born in order to consummate the marriage.
Joseph was compassionate as well as righteous, and walked in integrity without being commanded to do so.
In all this,
was Joseph proclaiming?
Surely, Joseph did NOT proclaim SELF. Self was NOT on the throne through any of those mysterious days and months.
Joseph set to his seal that GOD IS TRUE and worthy to be trusted.
Our own integrity, our standards, our compassion should testify that ...
in the flesh.
We, like Joseph, PROCLAIM HIM+ to the World by our life ... a life lived in integrity, GOD-centered standards, CHRIST-centered compassion.
We do RIGHT because
of OUR LOVE FOR HIM+,
Who+ always did right
because of His+ Love
for His+ Heavenly FATHER...
... and His+ love for us.
Let us Pray:
O FATHER ALMIGHTY, we bless THEE for Thy great power, established in Righteousness, established in Holiness.
Help us to PROCLAIM the CHRIST+ CHILD as HE+ becomes Incarnate in our hearts by faith. Teach us to stand firm in Thy Truth, and with Compassion and Integrity walk in righteousness all the days of our lives.
Change whatever is amiss in the temper and disposition of our souls,
For the sake of the INCARNATED CHRIST Who+ lives and reigns with THEE, and Thy Blessed HOLY SPIRIT, ONE GOD, both now and forever, world without end, to the ages of the ages.