Tuesday, September 2, 2008

A Wonderful Father?

Note the halos on St. Joseph. Doesn't he look sweet? Was there really a halo? Was Jesus one of the few born into a non-disfunctional family? I don't think so. The little Archko Volume, containing translations of some very old records from the Jewish Talmuds and Sanhedrin reports, is an excellent resource. Apparently manuscripts that have been sitting in both the Vatican Library and the St. Sophia Library at Constantinople, now Istanbul, for two thousand years or so.

The book includes an interview with Gamaliel, whom you will recall had trained Paul (Acts 22:3) and who advised the Jews who had brought the apostles before the Sanhedrin to:
"Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God." Acts 5:33-39
In the Archko Volume, Gamaliel concludes his report to the Sanhedrin:
"Now, Masters of Israel, after having investigated this matter; after tracing Jesus from his conception to the present time; after obtaining all the information that is to be had on this important subject, getting it from those who are more likely to tell the truth from the fact that they are disinterested persons; and then taking a prophetical as well as a historical view of the subject, I have come to the conclusion that this is the Messiah that we are looking for."

That conclusion was likely not well received. Gamaliel's interview with Mary and Joseph was undertaken when Jesus was about 26 years of age, before his public ministry and miracles. His (Gamaliel's) description of Joseph is especially interesting, considering the centuries of veneration in church.
"Joseph is a wood-workman. He is very tall and ugly. His hair looks as though it might have been dark auburn when young. His eyes are gray and vicious. He is anything but prepossessing in his appearance, and he is as gross and glum as he looks. He is but a poor talker, and it seems that yes and no are the depth of his mind. I am satisfied he is very disagreeable to his family...."

When speaking to Mary, she admits "that Joseph was a little hard to please, but this boy (Jesus) had answered him so often, and his answers were so mild and yet so suitable, that he had almost broken him of finding fault. She said he settled all the disputes of the family."
We know from Scripture that Jesus was "tempted in every way, just as we are - yet was without sin." It stands to reason that he would have been challenged as well in his home life. He is our example in all areas of life. And, thank God, we have a heavenly Father who is able and perfect in all ways.

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