Posted by: arieliondotcom | December 30, 2013

Perfect Parenting (Matthew 1, Luke 1-2)

Perfect Parenting (Matthew 1, Luke 1-2)

Joseph and Mary were perfect parents for JESUS, the Savior, specifically because they recognized they were in need of Him as their Savior themselves.
That is especially humbling as we recognize that they were at the same time far superior to us, though they’d never say so.

Gabriel specifically tells Mary she was chosen to carry the baby JESUS in her womb. And her very reaction to the angel shows some of the reason why. Here is what was probably a young girl. Even if Gabriel appeared as a man he would be a stranger. A woman in that culture would never be alone with a strange man. But rather than being terrified at this (possibly strange looking) stranger, she’s only confused by what he says, not by his appearance.

Mary’s response reminds us of the response of Deborah, the female judge in the Old Testament who had courage enough, when ordered by the king to go with him to war, to call him out as a coward. Mary, when told by a stranger that she will bear GOD’s Son, blurts out that she’s no fool. She’s a virgin and will be staying that way until she marries Joseph. We get the feeling that she’s telling this stranger if he plans anything untoward she will hit him in the head with the wooden shaft of her loom. When told she will keep her virginity until after the child is born she concedes that she trusts GOD can do anything, and she is GOD’s servant to do as He wills.

What’s more, Mary says that she needs her Son to be her Savior as much as anyone does. She never puts herself as equal or deserving but acknowledges with Gabriel that she will always be seen as uniquely blessed and favored by GOD’s Grace.

After receiving the message, she goes on a fact-finding mission to see her cousin Elisabeth, an old woman and well-known to be barren. And Elisabeth’s confirmation of the miraculous visit she and her husband have had, and her child by him in old age, plus her knowledge that their mutual Savior was in Mary’s womb, confirmed Gabriel’s visit was real.The Savior of the World would be born to a young woman afraid of no man and no man’s inferior in faith to the will and obedience to serve GOD.

What about Joseph? Most young boys today, and their parents, know about the TV character Bob the Builder. Joseph was Joe the Builder. He was the sort of independent contractor, carpenter and stone mason who could build anything given the time and materials. It’s easy to see where JESUS got the example He would use with His disciples of counting the cost for a building project before starting it. But having the girl he was engaged to marry become pregnant before he touched her wasn’t in the blueprint of life Joseph had for them.

Mary showed in her response to Gabriel that she knew her Scriptures. And so did Joseph. We don’t know whether Mary had begun to show that she was pregnant or if she simply told Joseph. Whether he thought she was insane or had truly betrayed him, he decided to do the most honorable thing and free her from their marriage contract as the Law allowed. But it was breaking his heart.

An angel in a dream convinced Joseph that Mary was faithful to him, but more importantly, to GOD. And roused from his sleep by this wonderful news, he immediately married Mary. What’s more, he remained sensitive to GOD’s leading. The fellow who had a plan for everything suddenly learned to live day by day in faith according to GOD’s leading by dreams and circumstance.

When He was 12 years old, JESUS stayed behind in the Temple when His parents went home. Sensing His absence, they retraced their steps until they found Him again. But when they did, they found a change in Him as well. He was now acting in authority under GOD. Rather than Him being wrong, He taught them that they were wrong for not realizing where He was and why. His true Father is GOD the Father. And all earthly parents, including Mary and Joseph, must learn that lesson for their children as well. Those children who die in infancy and youth always belong to GOD the Father Who gave them first.

Mary and Joseph were perfect parents, for JESUS even though Joseph was stepfather, because they show us how to face issues with our children. Raise them in an atmosphere where we trust GOD for everything, including His guidance of them. Trust them, as they mature, to trust in GOD themselves as we’ve taught them by example. And allow the Holy Spirit to use our introduction of our children to JESUS as the key to open their hearts to Him. Mary and Joseph were human, as we are, and yet in their flaws they yearned for JESUS to live with them and craved His Presence. They searched for Him when they couldn’t sense His Presence. And they remained open to GOD’s guidance in the relationship every moment, even when most confused. And that is the type of parenting GOD calls each of us to have.


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