We don’t read a lot about the earthly father of Jesus. He was there, of course, and the Bible does give us a few insights into his character: He was just, thoughtful, obedient, chaste, protective, and Godly. He was “the dad.” We read these things about him in the Gospel accounts. Plus, we know that he was a carpenter and probably a pretty good one at that. If he wasn’t good at it when Christ was born, I’m sure he became very good at it when adolescent-Jesus taught his father how to really make good furniture.
Why Joseph as Jesus’ earthly father? Why an earthly father at all? For many reasons, Jesus needed an earthly father, just as He needed John the Baptizer, His cousin, to be the one to prepare people for His coming. It was all part of the Heavenly Father’s plan.
- Joseph was chosen to be the earthly father of the King of kings on behalf of the Heavenly Father. That’s the way of the Savior.
Matthew 1:1, 16 – Joseph is descendant of Abraham. Others included: Judah, Rahab, Boaz & Ruth, Jesse, David, Solomon, a lineage of southern kingdom kings, then Zerubbabel who directed the resumption of worship, the rebuilding of the altar, and the foundation construction for the new Temple.
People acknowledged the lineage of Jesus, and while this was not in dispute, Jesus’ Messiahship was.
- Joseph was a just man. Righteousness and justice defined him. That’s the way of the Savior.
Read Matthew 1:19.
Acts 10:34 – …whoever fears Him (God) and works righteousness is accepted by Him.
- Joseph was a chaste man. That’s the way of the Savior.
Read Matthew 1:25.
- Joseph was a thoughtful man, not blindly following the Law but obediently following God. That’s the way of the Savior.
Matthew 1:20 – The angel gives us some clues as to the deep thoughts of Joseph:
- “I’m so confused and afraid.”
- “What do I do now with Mary?”
- “How in the world did she get pregnant?”
- “Is the child a boy or a girl?”
- “What do I name the child?”
- “What’s so special about this child?”
- “Wow, this is serious stuff.”
He was also a man of wisdom and stature, just as his Son, Jesus, would be (Luke 2:40, 52).
See Matthew 23:16-26 for what Jesus had to say about blindly following the Law and tradition, especially v. 23: (you) have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith.
- Joseph was an obedient man, not only to God but to authority. That’s the way of the Savior.
Read Matthew 1:24; 17:27; Luke 2:1-5.
- Joseph was a protective, perhaps intimidating, man of God. That’s the way of the Savior.
Read Matthew 2:13-15, 19-23; Luke 2:7, 16.
- Joseph took his family to church and taught them to love this inseparable part of family life. So much so that Boy Jesus didn’t want to leave it. That’s the way of our Savior.
Read Luke 2:41-49 (also, in Mark 6:1-2, people recognized the wisdom and stature of Jesus).
- Joseph was the head of his home and Jesus yielded to His father’s head-ship. That’s the way of our Savior.
Luke 2:51-52 – Jesus was subject to his parents. Increasing his son’s wisdom and stature is a responsibility of a father.
- Joseph taught his Son to make a living. We don’t know anything about Jesus between his 12th and 30th During those 18 years Jesus wasn’t idle. He worked, thanks to His father’s upbringing. That’s the way of our Savior.
Matthew 13:55; Mark 6:3; Luke 4:22 – Jesus was called the “carpenter’s son,” and “the carpenter,” and “Joseph’s son.”
- Joseph loved Mary. They had more children. Jesus was the first born of this marriage. That’s the way of the Savior.
Mark 6:3 – Jesus’ brothers are named and sisters are referenced.
Read Luke 2:22-24; Colossians 1:15.
Exodus 13:13 – The first born male was consecrated (set aside, sanctified, dedicated) to God – he belonged to God and among his siblings was uniquely redeemed as such. We may look at it this way: Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus, presented his Son to God, the Heavenly Father of Jesus. It was an enormous act of obedience for Joseph, knowing what he knew.
- As a matter of tradition, Joseph may have blessed his Son Jesus before he died, granting Jesus his approval as a dad so He could begin His ministry. That’s what a Godly father does – he blesses his children so they, too, will live a Godly life. That’s the way of our Savior.
Mark 6:3 – Joseph is not specifically mentioned, but only that Jesus was the carpenter and the Son of Mary. Because Mark was written first (we believe), there could have been some knowledge of the demise of Joseph and therefore any specific reference to him was omitted.
How does Joseph remind or challenge us to raise our own children, or to help raise (or mentor) the children in our lives?
In the Bible reading, what are some key words that make this part of the Christmas story…
- …more personal? Key word or phrase:
- …more intimate? Key word or phrase:
- …more applicable? Key word or phrase: