The Burial of Joseph - A new painting

The Burial of Joseph

- A new painting inspired by The Urantia Book

Dear TruthBook Friends and Family,

We are very happy to announce our newest original painting in the Jesus art collection series. All the paintings in this collection are our humble attempt at a visual Remembrance Supper memorializing important events in Jesus' life for the edification of future generations.

“What an awakening the world would experience if it could only see Jesus as he really lived on earth and know, firsthand, his life-giving teachings!” The Urantia Book 195:9.8

This painting named The Burial of Joseph depicts a scene that virtually no one except Urantia Book readers know about. We felt this painting represented one of the most important scenes in that Master’s life and that the world needs to know what happened to Joseph. From writings in the New Testament it is supposed that Joseph, the father of Jesus, died during the quiet years of Jesus' life. The Bible said it well yet the historical details as to why, when, where, and how Joseph died can only be found within the pages of the Urantia Revelation. The Urantia Book records that Joseph died from an untimely construction accident while working on Herod’s residence in Sepphoris.

Although The Urantia Book only mentions Joseph’s exact burial site by saying that he was "laid to rest with his fathers," because of other details in The Urantia Book and historical research, we think Joseph was buried in a humble setting. Their generational family wealth was moderate and it was unlikely that they could have afforded an elaborate burial site. In this 3’ by 4’ painting created by the American artist Russ Docken you can better imagine the burial scene and put this pivotal event of the Master's life into historical perspective.

In this poignant rendering of this sad occasion, we see Mary, the mother of Jesus, being consoled by Jesus and the remaining children gathered around the lifeless body of their father as he awaits burial. Remember - at this time, Jesus was "just past fourteen years of age," and he suddenly had his mother and siblings to financially support, care for, and protect. At the time of Joseph’s death, Jesus became the male head of household helping raise all of his younger siblings: James, (10), Miriam (9), Joseph (7), Simon (6), Martha (5), Jude (3), and baby Amos (1). And on top of it all, Mary was pregnant with her last child, Ruth, who would be born in April of the following year (AD 9).

The Burial of Joseph by Russ Docken

And so, you can only imagine the sadness, the anxiety, the uncertainty of this family as they bury their beloved husband and father. Already you can see the upright character of Jesus as he stands close to his mother, tenderly upholding her in her grief. You see the children in various attitudes of sadness and confusion as they grapple with the loss of their father, and you can't help but feel the emotion of this Nazareth family. The Creator of a universe now realizes that his mission on earth is taking an unexpected and tragic turn of events. But as you read, "Jesus cheerfully accepted the responsibilities so suddenly thrust upon him, and he carried them faithfully to the end."

What an amazing example of devotion and loyalty, as Jesus manfully accepts his new responsibilities as father to his siblings and head-of-household for Mary. This beautiful painting, in somber tones of blue, gives the world a glimpse into the private sorrows of Jesus and his family as he grows to an early manhood, thrust upon him by the untimely death of his beloved father.

"Mary, and even the children, were overcast with sadness. Joseph was gone. Joseph was an unusual husband and father, and they all missed him. And it seemed all the more tragic to think that he died ere they could speak to him or hear his farewell blessing." The Urantia Book, (126:2.8)

As always, we invite you to share this letter and this painting with all of your friends and family.

With Love and Blessings,

Your TruthBook Team

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Here is the story:

The Death of Joseph from Paper 126

(1388.1) 126:2.1 All did go well until that fateful day of Tuesday, September 25, when a runner from Sepphoris brought to this Nazareth home the tragic news that Joseph had been severely injured by the falling of a derrick while at work on the governor’s residence. The messenger from Sepphoris had stopped at the shop on the way to Joseph’s home, informing Jesus of his father’s accident, and they went together to the house to break the sad news to Mary. Jesus desired to go immediately to his father, but Mary would hear to nothing but that she must hasten to her husband’s side. She directed that James, then ten years of age, should accompany her to Sepphoris while Jesus remained home with the younger children until she should return, as she did not know how seriously Joseph had been injured. But Joseph died of his injuries before Mary arrived. They brought him to Nazareth, and on the following day he was laid to rest with his fathers.

(1388.2) 126:2.2 Just at the time when prospects were good and the future looked bright, an apparently cruel hand struck down the head of this Nazareth household, the affairs of this home were disrupted, and every plan for Jesus and his future education was demolished. This carpenter lad, now just past fourteen years of age, awakened to the realization that he had not only to fulfill the commission of his heavenly Father to reveal the divine nature on earth and in the flesh, but that his young human nature must also shoulder the responsibility of caring for his widowed mother and seven brothers and sisters — and another yet to be born. This lad of Nazareth now became the sole support and comfort of this so suddenly bereaved family. Thus were permitted those occurrences of the natural order of events on Urantia which would force this young man of destiny so early to assume these heavy but highly educational and disciplinary responsibilities attendant upon becoming the head of a human family, of becoming father to his own brothers and sisters, of supporting and protecting his mother, of functioning as guardian of his father’s home, the only home he was to know while on this world.

(1388.3) 126:2.3 Jesus cheerfully accepted the responsibilities so suddenly thrust upon him, and he carried them faithfully to the end. At least one great problem and anticipated difficulty in his life had been tragically solved — he would not now be expected to go to Jerusalem to study under the rabbis. It remained always true that Jesus “sat at no man’s feet.” He was ever willing to learn from even the humblest of little children, but he never derived authority to teach truth from human sources.

(1388.4) 126:2.4 Still he knew nothing of the Gabriel visit to his mother before his birth; he only learned of this from John on the day of his baptism, at the beginning of his public ministry.

(1388.5) 126:2.5 As the years passed, this young carpenter of Nazareth increasingly measured every institution of society and every usage of religion by the unvarying test: What does it do for the human soul? does it bring God to man? does it bring man to God? While this youth did not wholly neglect the recreational and social aspects of life, more and more he devoted his time and energies to just two purposes: the care of his family and the preparation to do his Father’s heavenly will on earth.

(1389.1) 126:2.6 This year it became the custom for the neighbors to drop in during the winter evenings to hear Jesus play upon the harp, to listen to his stories (for the lad was a master storyteller), and to hear him read from the Greek scriptures.

(1389.2) 126:2.7 The economic affairs of the family continued to run fairly smoothly as there was quite a sum of money on hand at the time of Joseph’s death. Jesus early demonstrated the possession of keen business judgment and financial sagacity. He was liberal but frugal; he was saving but generous. He proved to be a wise and efficient administrator of his father’s estate.

(1389.3) 126:2.8 But in spite of all that Jesus and the Nazareth neighbors could do to bring cheer into the home, Mary, and even the children, were overcast with sadness. Joseph was gone.


Your TruthBook Team