Dear Ms. Feverfew –
Wanna know what really chaps my proverbial hide? The claim that “God chose adoption for Jesus”, ergo adoption is a holy, Godly thing.
Uh, Jesus wasn’t adopted folks. He was raised by Joseph, yes. But Joseph was his step-father. And guess what else? He was raised by his mother.
There was no adoption that took place. An “adoption” would mean that Joseph had publicly shamed Mary by telling the community that the child was not his and then married her any way and “adopted” Jesus as his own. However, we know this isn’t what happened (please refer to Matthew 1:19-20 for the story of the angel appearing to Joseph and telling him he needed to wed Mary in spite of the fact that she was pregnant with some other individual’s child). Because Joseph did the angel’s bidding and married Mary instead of “putting her away privily,” the locals all assumed that Joseph was Jesus’ “real” father. Remember, this was one of the locals big beefs with Jesus during his ministry on earth. They had a tough time accepting him as the Son of God because they had known him his whole life as merely the son of Joseph, a carpenter from Nazareth.
But Joseph knew the truth. Mary knew the truth. And Jesus knew it as well.
Even at the tender age of 12, Jesus understood Joseph’s role in his life as his step-father. Remember that time Mary and Joseph accidentally left Jesus behind in Jerusalem after Passover? After an entire day of travel, they realize he was missing & they could not find him among their extended family or his friends. (Can you imagine their prayers that night? “Dear God – we seem to have lost your Only Begotten Son in the flesh. You probably already knew that but if you wouldn’t mind, please keep him safe and let him know how much we love him. Amen. P.S. Please forgive us – we promise to pay more attention to his whereabouts next time we head into town.”)
Three days later they find him at the temple in Jerusalem, talking with the learned men who were astonished at his answers and his understanding. Like any mother, Mary was upset with him about staying behind without letting her know where he was. Now pay careful attention to Jesus’ response to his mother. He says to her: “How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?” (Luke 2:49).
Not Joseph’s business. His Father’s business. Jesus distinguishes the difference, even when others don’t.
(Side note: Isn’t it delicious irony that Jesus pointing out who his real Father is appears at the end of the very same chapter in Luke which the “Jesus was adopted” crowd likes to quote? There’s something so piquant about it, wouldn’t you agree?)
But back to the matter at hand. Even God appreciated and respected the mother/infant bond. He didn’t send his only begotten Son in the flesh to be raised by anyone other than his “birth” mother. Certainly there were more “capable” women in Israel to raise the Son of God – someone married, more mature, financially secure and had a college fund set up for her future child, someone who knew all the ins & outs of child development, nutrition and discipline, had a support system that would be in place for the next 18 years – you know “worthy” – someone who could answer all these questions the “right” way. However, Jesus was not secreted away after his birth to be raised by another woman claiming to be his “real” mother. Mary raised him. Jesus stayed with his natural mother, his first mother, his mother. With this kind of example of family preservation, why is it so difficult for some people to grasp the vital importance of attempting everything possible to preserve the original family unit – a mother and her baby?
If family preservation was in the best interest of the only begotten Son of the Father, I think we are safe to assume it is in the best interest of all of His children whenever possible.
So Ms. Feverfew, when people start in with the “Jesus was adopted” thing, you can now discuss it with them logically and with scriptural backing. God didn’t cho0se adoption for Jesus – God chose family preservation.
Much love and belief –
P.S. And don’t even get me started with the “Well, Moses was adopted” thing right now. That would take several chapters for me to address…