In keeping with the Nativity theme from last post –
It’s so easy to forget important aspects of Jesus’s experience and life that would have been significantly affecting, especially during His growing-up years and on the way His community would have seen Him.
Let’s not forget – His was an outright scandalous beginning.
His young mother was “impregnated by the Spirit of God” (Matthew 1:18, Luke 1:35)… Sure.
His earthly father Joseph, betrothed to Mary when this extraordinary and highly suspicious happening occurred, had in mind to divorce her quietly. Then, in an overnight change of heart, decided to marry her. To support her while she carried this baby to term. To attach his name to hers when her firstborn didn’t carry his DNA or, likely, bear any resemblance to him.
What did the neighbors say about them as they raised this strange toddler? What did her parents think? Or his? How did their families react? What were family gatherings like? Everyone else with their predictable families and pedigreed children, and Mary and Joseph carrying the scent of impropriety and scandal that probably followed them for years? How many “milkman” jokes did they have to swallow with a polite smile? How many people simply didn’t talk to them again after that? What parties were they no longer invited to?
How did Mary’s friends react when she tried to tell them what had happened? Did they believe her? And how about Joseph’s? Did any of them stay or did they seek more community-approved company elsewhere?
And why do we not really hear about Joseph after Jesus’s ministry begins? Was it all too much for him? Was it too embarrassing, too risky, too implicating for him to stick around?
It sounds hard. It sounds really hard. And I appreciate that Jesus must know what living with ostracization, and a complicated story, and others’ whispers and judgements feel like.