The Family Of Jesus

Now the birth of Jesus Christ happened this way:
When his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph,
before they came together, she was found to be with
child of the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph her husband,
being a just man, and not willing to make her a public
example, decided to put her away privately.

But while he thought on these things, behold,
the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a
dream, saying, Joseph, son of David, fear not
to take unto you Mary your wife: for that which
is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she
shall bring forth a son, and you shall call his name
JESUS: 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,
Behold, 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 JESUS. (Matthew 1:18-25)

We often don't think of the influence that the family of Jesus had upon Him. His being God in flesh often overshadows the other, equally important reality of the Incarnation- His humanity. Jesus' family, just like yours and mine, shaped who He was, and who He became. His family not only tied Him to humanity but connected Him specifically to the Jewish people.

The New Testament offers little information on Jeus's family; Outside of the nativity stories, the Gospels hardly mention them. The actions of Jesus' parents after His birth (Luke 2:22-24) as well as their annual pilgramage to Jerusalem for Passover (Luke 2:41) indicate that Jesus grew up in an observant, pius Jewish family. Eight days after His birth, Jesus's parents had Him circumcized according to the commandment of God (Luke 2:21; see Gen. 17:10-14). Luke's description of their behavior demonstrates that Jesus grew up in a devout Jewish family that strictly adhered to God's instructions.

Relious instruction primarily took place within the home; it fell to the father to teach his children the Scriptures and traditions of Israel. Joseph, then, played a foundational role in Jesus' faith and practice. Ancient sources indicate that children learned the Scriptures and traditions of Israel, including prayer. the home functioned as the primary place of prayer, (along with the Temple in Jerusalem),in the land of Israel in the first century.

The first century Jewish historian Josephus mentions that most Jews recited Deuteronomy 6:4-9, the Shema, once if not twice daily in their homes. Jesus explicitlyidentified the command to "love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength (Deuteronomy 6:5) as the "greatest commandment" (Matthew 22:34-40). A contemporary of Jesus' said that in the reciting of the Shema one accepted the "kingdom of Heaven" upon oneself, acknowledging God's kingship, as well as submitting to His rule and commands.

We can assume that Joseph taught Jesus to recite the Shema every day of His life.It was His regular habit, daily submitting His will to the will of His Father in Heaven. When Jesus prayed on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, on the night He was arreste, He expressed, "Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me, nevertheless, not My will, but Yours be done" (Luke 22:42). Had Jesus not developed the daily habit of submitting to God's will, in that moment that so much hung upon His submission to His Father's will, would He have been able to go through wiuth it?

Jesus' family shaped Him. They were instrumental in helping form His faith. Their obedient faithfulness influnenced the obedience of their Son. Who are we influencing? What are those around us learning from our habits and our faithfulness?

Overlooking Jesus' family ignores the reality of the Incarnation. If we understand the world of Jesus' family, then they too can provide models of faithful obedience to us.


Father, help us to influence those closest
to us by our submitted obedience to You.
May our faithfulness to You influence
others for Your kingdom. Amen.

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