How much do you know about Jesus’ Earthly parents, Joseph and Mary? If you’re like most of us, some details may be fuzzy details. The Bible contains relatively little information about Jesus’ parents, and is what God considered sufficient for us to know about them. However, a few important facts exist that all Christians should understand about the man and woman who were considered His family here on Earth.
Scripture introduces us to Jesus’ parents through God’s angel Gabriel, who came to inform Mary of her impending pregnancy. This was an astounding revelation considering she was only pledged, not yet married, to Joseph (Luke 1:26-27). Gabriel was the same angel who God employed to inform Zacharias that his wife Elizabeth would bear him a son, despite the fact they were both well along in years. God used Gabriel next to inform Mary that His Son would be born to her. Despite skepticism from both Zacharias and Mary, Gabriel faithfully carried out his appointed duties for the LORD.
The name of our LORD’s mother was not a coincidence. Mary is the same name as Miriam, the sister of Moses and Aaron. The name Mary means exalted, and indeed it was a great exaltation to be selected as the woman who would bear our Savior. Among women, Mary was the most highly favored as demonstrated by God choosing her for the task of being the virgin mother of Christ Jesus.
Mary was of royal blood. She was a direct lineal descendent of King David and his royal family. She and all her friends knew this, yet she held this honor with little reward. She and her family were poor and of lowly means in this world, so despite her hereditary status, the world paid little attention to her and afforded her no special favors. Surely her Heavenly reward is beyond our comprehension.
Despite appearances, she was a virgin, pure and unspotted in the eyes of the community and espoused to one of the same royal stock. Christ’s mother was a virgin because He could not to be born by ordinary means or process. He was born of a promised miracle (Isaiah 7:14) so He would not be tainted with Adam’s sin.
Jesus was born of a virgin espoused and contracted for marriage. Thus, God sends us the message that He honors the married state and wishes no contempt for the institution. Whereas Mary and Joseph had plenty of explaining to do regarding the miracle of her pregnancy, God made sure that at least the marriage commitment and process had been initiated. Although the outside world was skeptical, neither Mary nor Joseph committed sin in the conception of the Christ child.
Mary lived in Nazareth, a city in the Galilee region, a remote corner of the country. Galilee had no reputation for religion or learning. Rather, Galilee was considered as borderline heathen by most Jews, who referred to it as “Galilee of the Gentiles”, an unsavory connotation. By Christ’s relations being resident there, God intimates favor to come for the Gentile world, which will be redeemed by His Son. We must take comfort in the fact that God can use anyone from any region for His purposes, regardless of their lineage, education, transgressions, or the reputation of their home town.
As little as we know about Mary, we know even less about Joseph. He is praised as a just man, a good and religious man, with a heart willing to forgive Mary of what had blatant appearances of adultery (Matthew 1:19). He displayed strength of character we would do well to emulate – by standing by his wife and later taking his family on journeys to Bethlehem and later to Egypt.
We are told that Joseph was a trained carpenter. His trade carried no special distinction in society, nor did it provide a lucrative income; instead, it was a humble way to earn a living. Thus, it was befitting of our LORD, the One who humbled Himself for us. Joseph’s profession also provides much symbolism for our LORD. As a carpenter, Joseph was a builder, which foreshadowed our LORD Jesus who came to Earth to begin building His Church. As a builder, Joseph also knew the importance of a solid foundation. This also points to Christ Jesus who serves as our firm and safe foundation (Matthew 7:24-27, 16:18).
Jesus’ parents Joseph and Mary played a key role in bringing us our Savior and it is good for us to get to know them. It is infinitely more important, however, for us to know the Father God, who made everything possible. It is normal to want to know the One who created the Heavens and the Earth and to seek Him in all we do. If we wish to spend eternity with God, we must also seek and meet His Son Jesus, the only Way to God’s Kingdom (John 14:6).
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