So why would I preach about Joseph, the putative father of Jesus, on this, the fourth Sunday of Advent; the Sunday of Love? There are a lot of reasons I suppose, not least of which is our Gospel lesson. This passage in Matthew is one of the very few places we get a look at Joseph.
I have always found Joseph a fascinating character in the Bible, perhaps even more so because there is so little about him. In fact, he is one of the biblical characters I would most like to meet. These sermons revolve around a discussion about why Joseph behaved the way he did. I try to make the case that his behaviour, namely deciding to quietly divorce Mary when he finds out she is pregnant, is an action that has virtually no real upside for him. In many ways it is incomprehensible. If he was a righteous man, then why didn’t he follow the law in this circumstance, because he didn’t. Why was Joseph willing to live with the damage to his reputation by not making this public? I can come up with an explanation or two but the only one that makes sense to me and to the evidence as I understand it is simple, he loved Mary.
The text leads us to think about Joseph but it opens up a broader and even more significant discussion about the Incarnation and what it means for Jesus to be fully God and fully human. The text also leads me to a different conclusion about how old Joseph was when all this happened too but that is of much less significance.
Give the sermons a listen and let me know what you think. I am especially interested in what you think about my theory on Joseph’s age.
Knox Presbyterian Is this love?
St. Mark’s Presbyterian Is this love?