Mary and Joseph Unity in Parenting

Mary-Joseph Example for Husband-Wife Ministry

Mary and Joseph interactions during the childhood of Jesus illustrate unity in understanding and performing parenting responsibilities. Their overnight escape to Egypt, return to Israel several years later, and diversion to Galilee instead of Judea were each based on revelations Joseph received in a dream and communicated to his wife. Other examples include their consistent annual trip to Jerusalem to participate in Passover festival for at least twelve years as the child developed. Their love for each other and love of God led to unity in parenting applicable today to other kinds of husband-wife ministry.

CLICK PICTURE TO PLAY VIDEO

Download or Play Audio

Download PDF

 

 

 


In the first of this two-part study on Mary and Joseph as a couple (Love Prepares Home for God’s Intervention), we noted that they relied on their love for each other to deal with human challenges they faced as part of their call to become parents of the Messiah. We concluded that love prepared their heart to receive and execute the call and may well have been the reason they were chosen.

Growing in Nazareth
Growing up in Nazareth
theglobalgospel.org freebibleimages.org

In this second part of the study, we discuss another benefit of their love, that is, unity in understanding and performing parenting responsibilities. Examples illustrating their “unity in parenting” are evident in two sets of events that occurred during the childhood of Jesus. One set was in connection with the flight to Egypt and back to Israel. The other is in relation to their annual participation in the Passover festival. In all the events, their love for each other and love of God led to consistent understanding of their parenting roles and performing their responsibilities based on the understanding.

Their interactions can be understood better by considering parenting as a husband-wife ministry. God called Mary and Joseph to the ministry of parenting the Messiah. Initially, Mary was the primary (or “first primary”) in the ministry and Joseph was the supporter (or “second primary”). Mary’s responsibility at the initial stage was to carry the pregnancy and Joseph’s was to support her wholeheartedly so together they nurtured the unborn child through birth. However, their roles switched after the child was born.

Angel instructs Joseph
Angel instructs Joseph
TheGlobalGospel.org FreeBibleImages.org

God recognized Joseph as the family leader, communicated child care instructions to him, and thereby charged him with leading the husband-wife team to implement the instructions. They remained united in implementing the instructions, completing each task successfully without any indication of disagreement. Also, their performance indicates they communicated effectively to determine steps toward completing the instructions. Love of each other and love of God led to effective communication, understanding their responsibilities, and performing the responsibilities to accomplish the objective.

If parenting is a husband-wife ministry, then other kinds of husband-wife ministry can benefit from the parenting experience of Mary and Joseph. In every case, unity in ministry based on love of each other and love of God will lead to understanding and recognizing responsibilities and performing them seamlessly to accomplish the objectives of the ministry. Furthermore, we note their unity in parenting led to fulfilling God’s purpose for the child as prophesied through the Scriptures: “Out of Egypt I called My Son” [Matthew 2:15] and “He shall be called a Nazarene” [Matthew 2:23]. In the same way, unity in ministry will lead to a husband-wife team fulfilling God’s purpose for their ministry.

Unity in Parenting—Flight to Egypt and Back

Joseph and his young family escaped to Egypt to protect the child Jesus from Herod who had ordered a massacre of male children in Bethlehem and neighboring districts, from two years old and younger. Herod intended to kill Jesus to eliminate any chance of a “king of the Jews.” His attempt to locate the child was frustrated when the Magi (wise men from the east) left without reporting back to him as he requested [Matthew 2:1–12].

Flight to Egypt for baby Jesus
Flight to Egypt for baby Jesus
TheGlobalGospel.org FreeBibleImages.org

An angel appeared to Joseph in a dream, revealed Herod’s plot to him, and instructed him to escape to Egypt with the child and his mother to protect the child from Herod [Matthew 2:13]: “… behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, ‘Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him.’” Joseph woke up and “took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt” [Matthew 2:14]. There must have been some conversation between Joseph and Mary after Joseph woke up and before they left for Egypt. The condensed biblical account emphasizes the instruction coming to Joseph in a dream and Joseph-Mary implementing the instruction exactly. All their interactions condensed out of the account resulted in their completing the flight as instructed.

Out of Egypt I called my son
Out of Egypt I called my son
theglobalgospel.org freebibleimages.org

They interacted the same way on two other occasions during the family’s return to Israel. On both occasions, the instruction came to Joseph in a dream and he and his wife implemented the instruction exactly. The first was when an angel alerted Joseph to return to Israel with his family: “Now when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, ‘Arise, take the young Child and His mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the young Child’s life are dead’” [Matthew 2:19–20]. The second was when Joseph dreamed of God directing him to return to Galilee with his family, instead of Judea [Matthew 2:22]: “But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea instead of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. And being warned by God in a dream, he turned aside into the region of Galilee.”

The accounts of Joseph-Mary interactions during these events illustrate Joseph’s position as leader of the family and Mary’s recognition and respect of the position. The information came to him each time in a dream (which, apparently, was God’s preferred approach to communicating with Joseph) and he and his wife implemented the instruction seamlessly. We can surmise, based on their working well together each time, that Joseph shared the information with Mary effectively, such that they both understood and did what needed to be done, on time to accomplish the objective. They were united in understanding and performing their parenting responsibilities.

Unity in Parenting—Participation in Passover

Table set for Passover Seder | wikipedia.org

During Jesus’s childhood up to the age of twelve, his parents took him to Jerusalem every year to participate in the Passover festival. As we discuss in a previous bible study under Parental Responsibility Based on Childhood of Jesus, the annual participation in Passover provided the child an opportunity to learn the history, practice, and meaning of the festival. Furthermore, his parents allowed him to mingle and interact freely with friends and relations during the festival and the long trek home thereafter. We know this based on events that occurred after his 12th participation in the festival.

At temple among teachers of the law
At temple among teachers of the law
LumoProject.com freebibleimages.org

He had stayed back in Jerusalem as his parents left. After trekking for about one day without seeing him, they realized something was different and began to look for him. They did not know he wasn’t with them because it was their common practice to let him interact freely with relatives and friends during the long trek home. Therefore, when they realized he wasn’t there, they looked for him among their relatives and friends [Luke 2:44]. They did not find him. Then, they returned to Jerusalem and after three days found him in the temple “sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions” [Luke 2:46].

The account of this event is all about his parents looking for him together and finding him after several days. After they found him, his mother talked to him as his father listened [Luke 2:48]: “Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously.” The parents were united in looking for and finding him and united in querying him to determine what happened.

They understood their responsibility to take him to the festival annually and performed the responsibility consistently together: “His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover” [Luke 2:41]. Their unity in understanding and performing their parenting responsibilities is well illustrated in the annual trip to Jerusalem for the festival, letting the child mingle and interact freely with friends and relations, looking for him together when he wasn’t where they expected him after the 12th festival, and speaking to him with one voice after they found him. They were successful as parents because of their unity in parenting.

Example for Husband-Wife Ministry

God called Mary and Joseph to a ministry of parenting the Messiah from pregnancy through childhood and transition to adulthood, as would have been done for a normal human being. Their love for each other and love of God prepared them to understand and perform their responsibilities to the child and to themselves and their community. Their roles (or positions in the ministry) changed along the way. Mary was the first primary and Joseph the second at the beginning when the parental responsibility centered on carrying the pregnancy and supporting the pregnant. After birth of the child, their roles transitioned to Joseph being the first primary as God communicated parenting responsibilities to him, thereby charging him with leading the husband-wife team through performance of the responsibilities. Mary’s role changed to providing wholehearted support to ensure successful completion of the parenting tasks. In each case, they understood their roles even as the roles changed and worked together seamlessly to accomplish the objectives.

Paul meets Priscilla-Aquila team Acts 18v2
Priscilla-Aquila team welcomes Paul (Acts 18v2)
Sweet Publishing freebibleimages.org

The principles that guided them through successful execution of their ministry can be applied to any husband-wife ministry. Love for each other and love of God will engender unity in understanding and performing individual responsibilities toward accomplishing the objectives of the ministry. Roles may change. God assigns a leader for each task or aspect of a task and will find a way to communicate the assignment effectively. The other person is to provide wholehearted support, strategically by being close enough to assist as needed but not too close as to interfere (as we discuss in a previous bible study under Right Heart for Strategic Alliance). Notice that in their interactions regarding the flight to Egypt and back, Joseph received the instruction and led the implementation while Mary assisted seamlessly. In contrast, when they found the child in the temple among elders after the 12th Passover, Mary took the lead in talking to him while Joseph listened with wholehearted support.

Their unity in parenting provides an example that will benefit any husband-wife ministry.

Summary of What We Learned

Love for each other and love of God will engender husband-wife unity in understanding and performing parenting responsibilities and help them work together seamlessly to accomplish the objectives of their ministry: in parenting or other husband-wife ministry.

Mary and Joseph interactions during the childhood of Jesus illustrate unity in understanding and performing parenting responsibilities. Their overnight escape to Egypt, return to Israel several years later, and diversion to Galilee instead of Judea were each based on revelations Joseph received in a dream and communicated to his wife. Other examples include their consistent annual trip to Jerusalem to participate in Passover festival for at least twelve years as the child developed. Their love for each other and love of God led to unity in parenting applicable today to other kinds of husband-wife ministry.

More Information

Please watch this bible study on video at VIDEO_LINK , listen to or download the audio at AUDIO_LINK . You can also download a PDF copy of the PowerPoint presentation from PDF_LINK.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.