Most Christians are familiar with Joseph of the Old Testament and his coat of many colors. In the New Testament we learn of another Joseph, of Arimathea. He was the disciple of Christ who requested from Pilate that he be allowed to remove the body of Jesus to his own tomb. However there is another Joseph that gets little attention from the average Christian. In a recent message by my Assistant Pastor, I myself became more aware of this man.
The first thing that we learn when we begin a study of this man is that there is no record of anything that he may have spoken……..no conversation at all……………not even a reference to anything he may have said. Irregardless, his life was a shining example of which men of today can be challenged. Studying his life gives us opportunity to examine our own walk with the Lord to see if any of his attributes are lacking within ourselves.
This man was the son of Jacob, and the soon to be son-in-law of Heli, the father of Mary. In the beginning of the Book of Matthew it is written that Joseph was espoused to Mary when he learned that she was with child. Knowing that the babe was not fathered by him, it would have been lawful for him to publicly humiliate her, even to have her stoned. Instead, Joseph, being a just man, was not willing to make her a public example and was thereby minded to put her away privately. The Bible is silent on any conversation that Joseph may have had with Mary in regards to her pregnancy. For sure there may have been all sorts of thoughts going through his mind. His flesh may have wanted to lash out in anger, hurt and disappointment. There is nothing in the Word to indicate that Joseph responded in any manner but that of a God-fearing man.
Joseph was a patient man, not given to jumping to conclusions. He may have looked upon this scenario as a testing of the Lord, thus prayerfully seeking guidance from His Heavenly Father. A wise decision indeed, because shortly thereafter, an angel of the Lord appeared unto him and reassured Joseph that the child which was in Mary’s womb was truly conceived by the Holy Ghost. Joseph, being obedient to the will of God, took Mary to be his wife. The Word of God records that Joseph was a man of self-control in that he did not know his wife until after the birth of Jesus.
The fact that God entrusted His only begotten Son into the hands of this man, as Jesus’ earthly Dad says volumes about the righteousness of Joseph. Joseph was ‘hand picked’ by God because he was trustworthy. It is ironic that millions of Catholic’s worship Mary and have little regard for her son let alone her husband. Joseph’s life and calling, although not worthy of worship, should be an inspiration to all.
The Gospel of Luke records the presentation of Jesus at the Temple. Their offering was two turtle which indicates that Joseph was not a wealthy man but he was rich in integrity and righteousness. It was not long after this that Joseph received a second visit from the angel of the Lord, warning him to flee into Egypt because of Herod’s decree to slay all the children two years and younger. Joseph was a protector of his family by leaving in the nighttime to take his family to safety. He more than likely used the stars to guide his journey which reveals he was a learned man in the area or astronomy.
In due season, the Angel appeared unto Joseph again to return to Israel, because those who wanted to slay Jesus were dead. However, once Joseph learned that Herod’s son reigned in Judea, he became concerned for the safety of his family. The angel of the Lord appeared unto Joseph the fourth time, instructing him to turn aside into Galilee. He took his family and dwelt in Nazareth. Still there is no documentation in Scripture that he shared the vision or the other three with Mary, his wife. It may well be that by having knowledge of the scriptures that Joseph would have realized that prophecy had been fulfilled which was spoken of by the prophets, “He shall be called a Nazarene”.
Jesus is referred to as the Carpenters son in Matthew 13:55 We can rest assured that Joseph taught Jesus the skills necessary to be a good carpenter. Spending many hours together in their workshop would have given them ample opportunity to form a close bond. It is built within a man to teach his son the skills which he himself has honed over the years. Joseph was most likely eager to teach the child the art of carpentry. Perhaps in later life, Mary would gaze upon the furniture that her husband and son had built together.
Some Bible historians believe that Joseph was an old man when he took Mary to be his wife. These same men also believe that Mary was as young as twelve when she conceived of the Holy Ghost. In Bible times it was not unusual for a maid to be married at such a young age. We notice in Scripture that after the Lord turned 12, Joseph was no longer mentioned, for whatever reason.
It is not easy to entrust your children to someone else. God entrusted Joseph with a great responsibility in being the earthly Dad to His only begotten Son. In view of all of the unexpected events in his life I wonder if perhaps Joseph clung to Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thy own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.