Wednesday, December 8, 2010


Very little is known about Joseph, the husband of Mary, the "supposed father of Jesus" (Matt. 1:20; Lk. 3:23). Apparently, other than Joseph and Mary, everyone believed Jesus to be Joseph's son (Matt. 13:55; Lk. 4:22; Jn. 1:45; 6:42). And by the reaction of the disciples following the Crucifixion, one could say that they doubted Jesus was His Son (Matt. 3:17; 17:5; 26:72; Lk. 24:17; Jn. 20:25).

So little is known about the "supposed father of Jesus" that we don't hear anything about him from the time Jesus was twelve (Lk. 2:51). Apparently, Joseph spent a considerable amount of time with Jesus, because he trained Jesus to be a Carpenter (Mk. 6:3). It is not clear when Joseph died, but when Jesus was on the cross, He turned over the responsibility of caring for Mary to John; if Joseph were still living, that would not have been necessary (Jn. 19:26-27). It may be that Joseph's death occurred shortly before He began His ministry at the age of thirty, because Joseph was not there whenever Mary is mentioned after that (Lk. 3:23; Matt. 12:47; Mk. 3:32; Lk. 8:20)

The Bible calls Joseph a just man, because he did not want to make Mary's pregnancy public (Matt. 1:19). Joseph must have had a great deal of faith in his dream, because he took Mary for his wife even though she was carrying someone else's child (Matt. 1:20). Not only did he go ahead and marry her, he obeyed the instructions of the Angel of the Lord and named the child Jesus (Matt. 12:21, 25). Joseph obviously believed that the pregnancy was the work of God, and the fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy (Isa. 7:14).

Actually, Joseph had a great deal of faith in more than one dream. It was also a dream from which he learned that he should take the Child and Mary to Egypt, thus fulfilling one more of the prophecies concerning the Anointed of God (Hos. 11:1; Matt. 2:13). After all, he knew what happened to another Joseph in the Bible, whose family started a four hundred year "vacation" in Egypt (Gen. 15:13; Acts 7:6). It was not difficult for a Jew to remember the Egyptian enslavement of Israel, because it was the basis for the Feast of Passover which is still celebrated by Jews today (Num. 33:3).

It is amazing that the man God chose to raise His Son has never really been seen as more than that. It seems to me that his name could easily have been included in "Faith's Hall of Fame" in Hebrews eleven. Other than in the Gospels, his name is not mentioned. The Bible makes no reference to anyone being named in honor of him. I suppose one could say that being named after the son of Jacob, is in itself, honoring Joseph. Not only were both declared to be just men, one provided bread for his family, and one provided a family for the Bread of Life (Jn. 6:35; 48). He was a simple carpenter, but his life was anything but simple: in actuality, he was an amazing carpenter.

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