Fathers of the Bible: Joseph, the Chosen Father

Joseph is the earthly father of Jesus Christ, the Messiah. The name Joseph means may God add or give increase.

Imagine his confusion when Mary, his betrothed, tells him she is expecting.  An angel appears to him, telling him not to put her away. 

When Joseph woke up he decided to do as the angel told him

But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus,[a] because he will save his people from their sins.”  {Matthew 1:20-21}

Joseph is with Mary as they travel to Bethlehem and she gives birth.

Joseph took Mary to be his wife

“So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.”  {Luke 2:4-5}

 The birth account in Luke 2 doesn’t tell us who is with Mary, but it is probable that Joseph may have been the only person present.

“While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.”  {Luke 2:6-7}

Joseph, Mary and the baby Jesus

Joseph was present for a lot of milestones in Jesus early years, although he wasn’t always mentioned by name.

Joseph was present when the shepherds came to visit.  {Luke 2:8-20}

When Jesus was eight days old, Mary and Joseph took Jesus to the temple.

“ Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord.”  {Luke 2:22}

While there Simeon comes upon them and takes the child, praising God.

“ The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him.”  {Luke 2:33}

Joseph obeyed the angel and fled with his family to Egypt

“When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. “  {Luke 2:39}

Some time later the Magi or Wise Men visit the Christ Child. Afterward, the angel again appears to Joseph.

“When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”  {Matthew 2:13}

Joseph was a protector and an angel watched over the Holy family warning when to flee…and later when to return.

“ So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15 where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”  {Matthew 2:14-15}

We don’t know how long Joseph and Mary lived in Egypt, but an angel again appeared when King Herod died.

Joseph was a carpenter

“After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt 20 and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead.”  {Matthew 2:19-20}

After Herod died it was safe for the Holy Family to return.  Again an angel appeared and let Joseph know it was okay.

“ So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel… Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, 23 and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets, that he would be called a Nazarene.”  {Matthew 2:21-23}

Joseph is only mentioned one more time and not by name.  When Jesus is twelve and at the temple.

Mary and Joseph searched three days for their son before returning to the temple

“Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover. “   {Luke 2:41}

Each year, he was taken to the temple to observe the customs and worship the Lord.  Joseph taught his son about worshipping God and prepared him to become a man.

“When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.””  {Luke 2:48}

Notice his mother is the one to rebuke him.  While Mary and Joseph understood Jesus was God’s son there was much they didn’t understand.  They were probably astonished on a regular basis.

We believe Joseph died sometime within the next 18 years, when Jesus began his earthly ministry.  However, we don’t know when or how. One thing we can be sure of is he taught Jesus all he knew about his trade of carpentry.  After all, Jesus worked as a carpenter before he began his ministry.

Joseph was a righteous man

However, Mary and Joseph had additional children.  

The people asked “Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.”  {Mark 6:3}

Joseph was the chosen father.  To raise, care for and protect the son of God.  What a huge blessing!  What a humongous undertaking!

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