The unique perspective of Joseph

The Gospel of Matthew presented the infancy story of Jesus from the perspective of Joseph, unlike the Gospel of Luke that presented the same story from the perspective of Mary. What do they have in common and what is unique. Mary and the child Jesus play a secondary role in this narration, since it was all about Joseph, the son of Jacob, the father of the child. There were certain things in common with the Luke story. Both Joseph and Mary were troubled by this pregnancy. Both had an angel come and explain that the child was from the Holy Spirit. Both were told that the name of the child would be Jesus. In both stories, the child is born in Bethlehem. Beyond that, there were some unique things to the story of Joseph in Matthew. He almost divorced Mary. He had a number of angelic dreams. He was told to go to Egypt, which he did. He then returned to Israel and settled in Nazareth in Galilee. In between, there was the strange story of King Herod and the magi. Matthew used 5 different Old Testament Hebrew prophecies to show that Jesus was truly within the Jewish prophetic tradition. Clearly, in these two opening chapters, Matthew was a Jewish scripture scholar with his use of 1 Chronicles in the genealogy and the various prophecies of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Hosea, Micah, and Judges. Whatever sources he used for this unique perspective on the birth of Jesus, they were clearly Jewish based. Joseph was a righteous Jewish man. After this presentation, Joseph seemed to drift off the center stage in the life and times of Jesus of Nazareth.

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The new ruler of Israel (Mic 5:3-5:4)

“Therefore,

He shall give them up

Until the time

When she who is in labor

Has brought forth.

Then the rest

Of his brethren

Shall return

To the people of Israel.

He shall stand.

He shall feed his flock

In the strength of Yahweh,

In the majesty

Of the name of Yahweh,

His God.

They shall live secure.

Now he shall be great

To the ends of the earth.

He shall be the one of peace.”

Next Micah gave a description of this new Israelite ruler.  Apparently, this would take place after a long process of pregnancy labor.  Then the new ruler would be born when the rest of the people of Israel returned.  This new ruler would stand with them and feed them like his own flock.  He would stand in the majesty and strength of the name of Yahweh, his God.  They then would live secure.  This new ruler would be great, since he would be a man of peace, known to the ends of the earth.  It is easy to see why many of the early Christians applied this passage to Jesus of Nazareth, born in Bethlehem.