Perhaps there was no greater human influence on Jesus’ life than His stepfather, Jospeh. Mary’s influence would have been greatest when Jesus was a child. Joseph would have mentored Jesus, shaping His character and His skills as a teenager while they worked side by side.
We don’t read much about Joseph outside of the nativity story. He’s still there when Jesus is twelve, but by the time Jesus begins His public ministry, Joseph has evidently already died. They still speak of Jesus as being the son of Joseph, the carpenter, so maybe Joseph had died only a few years earlier. We don’t know.
But what we do know about Joseph reveals a young man of deep character and faith.
Joseph was a young man who was a hard worker. As a carpenter, a tekton, a stone cutter, he must have had a strong work ethic and was committed to provide for his family.
“Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.”
Joseph was a young man who was “faithful to the law.” He wanted to please God. He wanted to obey God.
Joseph was a young man who put other’s ahead of himself. The way he treated Mary when he found out she was pregnant displayed great consideration for the needs of others and utter selflessness.
Mary must have told Joseph of her angel encounter. He loved her. I’m sure he wanted to believe her. But how does someone get pregnant without a partner. That’s inconceivable! It takes two…
“But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream…”
Joseph was a young man who listened to God. God revealed His plan to Joseph through an angelic messenger. How did Joseph respond?
“When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.”
Joseph was a righteous young man. He listened to God. He obeyed God. He lived out the Great Commandment. Love God. Love people. God had selected Mary to be Jesus’ mother, but in doing so, He had also selected Joseph to be Jesus’ earthy father. Joseph adopted Jesus as his own firstborn son. Joseph was selected by God for this assignment. What an honor!
And God honored Joseph. I’ve never really thought about it. Maybe it was Jewish culture. I’ll have to explore. But what an honor…
“She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
Joseph was given the privilege of naming Jesus. The angel told Joseph what the child was to be named, and why.
“Christ Jesus: Who being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death- even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth, and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:5-11
The name that is above every name!
And Joseph named Him!
The name at which every knee will bow!
And Joseph named Him!
Joseph was a young man chosen by God, used by God and honored by God.
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