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Ordinary But Extraordinary

When the name Joseph is referenced in the Bible, what comes to mind?  Usually, it’s the guy with the coat of many colors – the guy who dreamed – the guy who became a big deal in Egypt.

However, there is another Joseph in scripture.  The Joseph in the New Testament – the husband of Mary and the earthly father of Jesus.  That’s a pretty big deal too.

I think that Joseph might be one of the unsung heroes of the Christmas story.  Everyone else seems to get a lot of press and fanfare: Mary (obviously), the angels, the shepherds and the wise men.

And then there is Joseph.

Scripture doesn’t say a lot about him but he is described as a just, good and faithful man (depending on the translation) who was devoted to Mary and God.

Later, we read how Joseph took care of his family – he traveled to Bethlehem along with his very pregnant wife to register for a census, as required by law. Then, after being warned in a dream that Jesus’ life was in danger, Joseph takes them to Egypt then Galilee and eventually settles in Nazareth.

One of the final passages in which Joseph is mentioned occurs much later in Jesus’ life.  Matthew 13:54 {Jesus} returned to Nazareth, his hometown. When he taught there in the synagogue, everyone was amazed and said, “Where does he get this wisdom and the power to do miracles?” 55 Then they scoffed, “He’s just the carpenter’s son…”.

The acknowledgment of Joseph in scripture ended pretty much as it started.  Not the star.  Simply a supporting role, even to the point of being discredited as “just a carpenter”.

This is the tale of 2 Josephs.  One was the #2 guy in all of Egypt – he was popular among the rulers and the people.  The other was just a guy in the background, taking care of his family and doing his thing without much recognition.  Both fulfilling their God-appointed roles.

Which one can you relate to more?  

Honestly, the characteristics we see in Joseph of the New Testament aren’t necessarily exciting.  This regular guy submitted himself to the plan of God and just did regular things.  As ordinary as that may seem, extraordinary things happened: prophecy was fulfilled and the Son of God was raised.

Luke 2:51 Then {Jesus} returned to Nazareth with {Joseph & Mary} and was obedient to them. And his mother stored all these things in her heart. 52 Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all the people.

Jesus thrived under the care of Mary…and Joseph.

There is something to be said about a person who may not be the most popular one but is just, good, faithful, responsible, devoted to people and submitted to God.  A person who can be trusted in the small things that won’t get a lot of attention but will keep doing them anyway.

An ordinary person doing ordinary things but part of an extraordinary plan.

“We are not a people who disdain the ordinary. In a culture that wants it big and loud and fast, with video and great music underneath the video, we are a distinct people in that we understand God is at work in the everyday ordinariness… We don’t need fireworks all the time. We know that when we faithfully love our {spouse}, faithfully engage our kids, faithfully live the way God has asked us to live that God is accomplishing something in us and through us for our joy and his glory.”  Matt Chandler

Galatians 6:9 So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.


Photo by Alex Jones on Unsplash



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