Who is Joseph, the earthly Father of Jesus?

Last Christmas, we studied Mary, the Mother of Jesus.

So in the spirit of Christmas, it only seemed natural to take a look at Joseph, the earthly

Joseph was chosen as the earthly father of Jesus

Joseph was chosen as the earthly father of Jesus

father of Jesus.  For the next eight weeks we will explore what scripture tells us about Joseph.

The only information we know about Joseph comes from three of the four gospels.  Joseph is not mentioned at all in the Gospel of Mark.

Before we turn to scripture, let’s take a look at the meaning of Joseph’s name.

In Hebrew, Joseph or Yosef means May Jehovah add or give increase.

Today, you will often seen Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus, mentioned as Saint Joseph.

Joseph was a carpenter

Joseph was a carpenter

The first chapter in Matthew contains a genealogy of Jesus line to King David and eventually Abraham through the line of Joseph.  {Note: Most scholars believe that the genealogy line provided in Luke is actually the genealogy of Mary, the Mother of Jesus.}

At the end of the genealogy we are told that “Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom as called Jesus, who is Christ.”

This one simple sentence tells us three things:

  1. His father’s name is Jacob
  2. His wife is Mary
  3. The child his wife gave birth to is Jesus, the Christ

When you look over at Luke 2:4 we discover “And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David”

Jesus descended from the line of King David

Jesus descended from the line of King David

So we know that Joseph descends from King David.  This is information that both Matthew and Luke felt was important to share.  Even centuries after his passing, the name of King David still wielded power “and cast a fragrance over the place of his birth” according to the Four Gospel’s commentary.

We know a lot about Joseph’s lineage and family history, but there is a lot we still know nothing about.

  1. How old was Joseph?—most historians believe he was considerably older than Mary. The age difference varies according to the source.  At the very least, he was in his 20s, if not older.
  2. Had Joseph been married before—some scholars or Religious sects believe Joseph had been married before and had children from this relationship. The Bible does not tell us and there is no proof that I’m aware of from history to tell us one way or another.  We have no way of knowing for sure.


What other questions do you have about Joseph?

Now that we know who Joseph is, how did he react to Mary’s pregnancy?


*Pictures from FreeBibleImages.com

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