Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Love & Duty

The first chapters of the New Testament tell how God came into this broken and suffering world. God came through, and in spite of, an ancient family. God chooses to bless right in the midst of sin, taking our flesh upon himself through the virgin Mary. The fullfillment of God's plan in Jesus Christ is the main point.

As as sidelight, I find it interesting that Matthew's Gospel begins with the focus on Joseph. Jesus' step-father does his duty and loves his wife and child. Joseph remained faithful to his wife and her son, doing what he needed to do to keep them safe. Of course, the Lord guided him, but he had to be willing to accept the Lord's will.

In a very human way, this is amazing because it says that Joseph waited to have intimate sexual relations with Mary until a time after Jesus was born. Maybe it was different in those days, but because men are pretty much the same biologically now as ever, it's my guess that sexual fulfillment was just as important for Joseph as it is for men today. The book His Needs, Her Needs claims that its a top "need" for men in marriage - but somehow Joseph was willing to wait.

The Lord commands men to "love their wives." This "love" is to be a self-giving love instead of a way that men get what they want from women. Joseph can be an example for us because sometimes there are long periods of waiting--and not only for sexual fulfillment. Men and women often need to wait and continue to love their mates through periods when we are less than fulfilled. In this way we can be a blessing to our children and beyond.

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