Wednesday, February 3, 2021 1:08 am
By Bayo Adeyinka
I think the most underrated character in the Bible is Joseph. Yes, Joseph the husband of Mary and the ‘father’ of Jesus. I don’t believe he got his due acknowledgment. I think his role in the birth of Jesus and upbringing has not been given the right credits. During Christmas, we talk about the wise men. We talk about the shepherds who watched their flocks by night. We talk about the angels who appeared to the shepherds. We talk about Mary and rightfully so. Of course, we talk about the Baby Jesus. We even compose songs for all of them. We hardly talk about Joseph and I’ve never heard of any song composed for the dude. It’s almost as if there’s a ‘conspiracy’ of silence to ‘edge’ him out of the picture.
I think Brother Joseph is the real star of the whole story. I preached a message at Christmas and my focus was Joseph. I called him the man who protected Christmas. That dude does not belong here. I’ve looked at the power of his example and I’ve asked myself many times: Can I do what he did? Sincerely, I’m not sure. His story makes a portion of the Lord’s Prayer so real to me: Lord, lead us not into temptation. The more I read his story, the less judgmental I become about so many things. How will you react when life throws a pot of beans at you? Don’t be too sure you know how. That’s why we need to pray for grace.
Consider this: Mary was betrothed to Joseph. That means they were in courtship to be married. Possibly dated for a few years. Family and friends knew about their relationship. But they had never been intimate and then Mary fell pregnant. If you were Joseph, what would you do? What will your reaction be? What do you do when you feel the person you loved betrayed you? If the woman now told you she never had sex with anyone, would you believe her? Tell that to the marines. Her excuses don’t make any sense. Joseph was between the devil and the deep blue sea. Torn between extreme emotions- love and a sense of betrayal.
He didn’t go to social media. If he did, he would have been justified. He could have ‘dragged’ Mary. He had every right too and the mob would have feasted. Mary would have trended for days. Under the law, she would have been stoned. To death. Joseph made a tough choice. A very tough one. That choice couldn’t have come easy. Maybe he had sleepless nights, turning and tossing from one part of the bed to another. He finally decided that he would just let her leave quietly- without exposing her. He waived his right to call her out. Love triumphed over judgment. The real proof of love is when you know you have every right to be angry but you choose to forgive. I believe this quality of Joseph was why God chose him above every male that time. His role was so important he was carefully selected-just like Mary. God needed a virgin. God needed a good man too. The Bible described Joseph as a just man. Dude was good. So good he had angelic visitations 4 times within 2 chapters.
It takes a good man to know that though the woman was not carrying his pregnancy but yet choose to still go ahead to marry her. Ok. It took an angel to tell him not to be afraid to take on his wife. I’m not sure an angel can convince me to do that. “Brother Gabriel, shuo, make you sef think am now. Ko le werk. My mumu don do”. That’s what I would have said. Not only that, he didn’t copulate with her until she put to bed. You marry someone but then can’t touch her for almost 9 months? You can’t even ‘enter’ small? What a sacrifice! He still went all the way to Bethlehem, walking, while pulling a donkey carrying a woman pregnant for ‘Another Person’. Meanwhile, he knew he was the subject of rumors and gossips. Blogs carried his story and there were several innuendoes.
For the rest of his life, Joseph bore the burden quietly. He knew what it meant to be sneered at in public when people think you’re fathering an illegitimate child. He was the custodian of Jesus. He carried him to Egypt to protect him. He became the first mentor of the Lord Jesus Christ. He taught him carpentry skills. The first 30 years were spent with Joseph.
So I read the story of the Judge who released a public statement on his wife and the three kids who he discovered were not sired by him after DNA tests. I’ve read so many opinions about the judge’s actions.
Was he right to come public? Should he have carried his burdens quietly like Joseph? What do you do when life throws a pot of beans at you?
I can’t criticize the judge. I can’t really and truly offer an opinion on whether what he did was wrong or right. It’s easy to judge when you don’t walk in the other person’s shoes. I don’t know what I would have done if I were in his shoes. I actually think no one can be sure of how they will react. Joseph was a good man. I think the judge is a good man too. My simple prayer is may we not be led into temptation. And may our loyalty not be tested.
-Bayo Adeyinka, banker and public affairs analyst, writes from Lagos