At the age of twelve Jesus knew He was to “be about His Father’s business.” But, then He waited. And Waited. And WAITED! During the wait, he learned a trade from His earthly father, Joseph the carpenter. (Matthew 13:55-56, Mark 6:3) Jesus did not enter the ministry until age 30. (Luke 3:23)
Scripture is very silent on Joseph after Jesus is twelve years old. Scholars believe Joseph has died due to his absence during Jesus ministry for Mary is often mentioned beginning with the very first miracle at the marriage in Cana. (John 2:1-12) The other defining factor is Jesus making arrangements for His mother to be cared for by John after His death. He would not have done this if Joseph were still alive.
The conclusion, Jesus “lost” a parent to death at an early age, leaving him responsible for His mother and siblings! When a loved one dies, they are not lost. In the words of Chonda Pierce, “that seems mighty irresponsible of us!” We use this term because the word death is so final……………..or it sure feels final.
Have you lost a parent? It matters not if you are six or sixty, the death of a parent is earth shattering. Your sense of stability is shattered. It rocks your world. Even if you have a poor relationship with this parent, your hopes and dreams for reconciliation, recovery, or being reunited evaporate. If you have said your final good-byes to both parents you know the feeling of being orphaned. If you have been taken in by another and loved as a parent loves, you understand the gift of adoption.
Did this shape Jesus? Absolutely! In His humanity, His entire world changed. In His Deity as well as His humanity, He hates death. He tasted the bitter gall we all must taste: the death of someone we love! Jesus loved Joseph. Joseph had cared for His mother and for Him from the beginning. Jesus knew the sacrifice Joseph had made. This separation broke HIs heart just like our hearts are broken when we are forced to stand at the graveside of a parent.
When I was eighteen years old, my Daddy died. He was 48 years old. He went to sleep and woke up in Heaven. Angels rejoiced. I mourned deeply. I was never the same. It changed our family in profound ways. The center of the wheel was wrenched out and all the spokes went flying. A mother was left alone with four hateful teenagers. Can you imagine? Yes, some of you can! We each have a story of loss. Heaven’s gain is our loss. We must learn to rely on a Heavenly Father for security. For direction. For love. For comfort. For all the things an earthly parent provided to us. But, how can we rely on this Father when He allowed this to happen to us? This question screams for an answer and Heaven is silent. (When Heaven’s Silent 2/20/17)
God NEVER intended for us to have to cope with death! Let this sink in! Indeed, His intent was our eternal walk with Him in the Garden He provided. (Genesis 1:28, Genesis 3:8) We are simply not “hard-wired” for death, disease, destruction, pain, suffering, and good-bye. This is the struggle. Jesus too lived among us and felt the internal conflict of this lack of “hard-wiring” even though He was the Son of God. He was the Son of man as well. He carried all our tainted DNA. It has taken decades to come to this understanding.
Jesus saw His earthly father die, be buried, and when Jesus arose and the graves came open, (Matthew 27:52-52) I suspect the first person He looked for after seeing His Heavenly Father’s face was Joseph, His earthly father, then John, His cousin, Elizabeth and Zechariah, His great aunt and uncle! I can tell you this, when I close my earthly eyes to have them open in Paradise, right after I thank Jesus for His gift to me of salvation, I have some faces I cannot wait to see!!!! (Hebrews 12:1)
To grieve deeply is as it should be! When we do, we recall how this world was meant to be. We come to understand just a little bit of Jesus angst at the tomb of Lazarus: To grieve much is to love much. (John 11:1-44)
Jesus, was in all ways tempted like as we are. Death is a trial. The temptation arises in how we deal with the loss of anyone we love by death or distance. Do we become angry, bitter, depressed, disengaged, despondent, shaking our fist at heaven, or do we follow the admonition of I Thessalonians 4:13: “Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.” I have known both utter despair and divine hope as I moved through the process of coping with these profound losses. Jesus too felt the losses in His life maybe far more than we do, since it is His creation that expires. (He too “had an expiration date.”
May we come to grasp, Jesus does understand our suffering. (Hebrews 2:18) He hates death and this is why He came. (I Corinthians 15:55-57, John 14:1-4)
Where I Belong by Building 429
Treading in hope,
One of my Beauties just reminded me that “even the darkness is a gift and we learn much in the dark.” This is soo very true and makes the light oh so much brighter.