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by Dr. Eitan Bar

“Jesus had the Perfect Father”

A devotional by Eitan Bar

The story of Joseph and Mary, parents of Jesus, reveals a profound gospel message that goes beyond mere acts of kindness. It speaks to the very heart of who God is and what He came to do for us.

Under the Law of Moses that governed the people of Israel, including Joseph and Mary, stoning was the prescribed punishment for adultery (Leviticus 20:10). Although Joseph initially believed that Mary had committed adultery, he made the decision to cover her alleged sin and spare her from disgrace by sending her away in secret. As Jews, not only adultery was punishable by death through stoning, it was to be executed by people you knew, you family and friends and your whole community. Yet, Joseph, still believing that Mary had become pregnant by another man, did not expose her to punishment, guilt, and shame. This is the same Joseph whom the Gospels describe as “righteous” (Matthew 1:19).

Imagine Joseph did decide to put Mary to death by the hands of religious legalistic men – with the Son of God inside of her womb. In a sense, Jospeh saved Jesus’ life, but it was only for Jesus to later save his life.

Joseph’s actions point to the very nature of God’s love and mercy towards sinners. God does not demand that we earn His forgiveness, salvation and favor through good deeds or perfect behavior. Instead, God offers us free gifts of grace through faith in Christ. And when we do fall, God does not want to expose us to punishment, guilt, and shame, but rather covers our sin and offers us hope and the promise of eternal life. To cover for the sins of others, is something Jesus learned from both His earthly and heavenly fathers. As an adult, Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross serves as the ultimate act of covering over sins. That, while being murdered by the wicked man-made system that punishes the Righteous while setting the criminals free. God didn’t kill the Righteous one, we did.

True righteousness, then, as demonstrated by Joseph, is not about self-righteousness and demanding justice for wrongs done to me. It’s about following in the footsteps of Jesus, who showed us how to love others by freely and even sacrificially cover for their sins, even if they are enemies. Through this kind of forgiving love, we can truly reflect the nature of God and live out the gospel message with those around us through our actions.

Before we preach with words, we need to preach with our lives. Our actions should be a reflection of God’s love and mercy, and the words we preach should be backed up by our deeds.

Dr. Eitan Bar
Author, Theologian, Activist