Summary: A Christmas time message about Joseph

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Holy Days, Holy People

Joseph: Do your actions speak as loud as your words?

-Have you ever thought much about the Nativity scene? Most of you own one or have seen one before.

-Everyone knows about Mary, and baby Jesus, and the angel Gabriel. We know a lot about the Wise Men from a distant land.

-We know about the Shepherds, and we even know about the cattle…the cattle were “lowing”. But what about Joseph.

-Standing in the background watching over the manger.

-Today we’re talking about a mysterious Xmas character:


-Most of us would consider Joseph to be a key player in the Bible, but we know very little about him.

-He was a carpenter. (Mt 13:55)

-He was a skilled laborer, a craftsman, probably physical & strong.

-From his genealogy in Matt 1 we see Joseph was….

-A descendant of King David. (Mt 1:6, Is 11:1)

-That was an important detail because Isaiah 11:1 predicted the Messiah would come from the line of David.

-In fact, Mary and Joseph were both descendants of David.

-When they dedicated baby Jesus they offered two doves at the temple. This gives us an important detail about Joseph:

-He was poor. (Lk 2:24, Lev 12:8)

-When you had a baby the required offering was a lamb, but the poor were allowed to bring a pair of doves or pigeons.

-Perhaps the most startling fact about Joseph is that he is the only character in the Christmas story who didn’t speak.

-Nothing Joseph said was recorded.

-He had no lines in the Xmas play! He’s kind of an extra.

-His words to the angel Gabriel weren’t recorded.

-His words to Mary weren’t recorded.

-Nothing he said to Jesus was recorded for us to read.

-And yet Joseph has been revered through the ages as a Bible hero and a man of great faith. Why?

-Because what he did, not what he said, reveals everything we need to know about him.

Matthew 1:18 This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph.

-Joseph was godly in his engagement. (Mt 1:18a)

-Joseph had probably been waiting to marry Mary for a long time.

-He did what God-fearing Jewish men were supposed to do.

-Their marriage would have been arranged while they were young

-In Mary’s day a girl’s marriage was often arranged at age 2.

-Can you imagine? What do you think of this one son? Well she’s drools, and throws temper tantrums and isn’t really potty trained!

-But then again I’m only six, and I still sleep with the light on.

-The marriages were arranged very young but the official engagement would occur around 12 years old and the wedding could happen as early as 6 months after the engagement.

-The men were usually engaged at 16 years old so it’s very feasible that Joseph was a young man as well.

-It’s hard for us to accept this practice but it was a different time, & a different culture. Lifespans were short, people grew up quick

-While we wait to fall in love with someone before we get married, they got married and then decided to love each other.

-And divorce was practically non-existent: Go figure!

-Now this is where the plot takes a twist.

18b But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit.

-So Joseph is engaged to Mary and she turns up pregnant.

-An engagement in our culture is not as big a deal as it was then.

-Often times, being engaged in America, just means that sometime in the next couple years you might get married.

-And if for some reason you decide that you want out of it you text your girlfriend, take the ring back to Fred Meyer’s, unfriend her on Facebook, and start dating someone else 2 weeks later.

-But in the day of Joseph and Mary an engagement was a legally binding agreement that you signed with witnesses present.

-They took the engagement to be married as seriously as they took the marriage itself.

-So Mary and Joseph were pledged in marriage but Mary was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit.

-There is only one foolproof way for Joseph to know the baby wasn’t his; they hadn’t had been sexually active.

-Sex has always been reserved 4 marriage…that is God’s standard

-And that was Joseph’s standard because he was a righteous man.

-Imagine the thoughts that could have entered his mind.

-Anger. Outrage. Humiliation. Disgust. Heartache. Revenge.

19 Joseph, her fiancé, was a good man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly.

-He didn’t believe Mary’s story that the “Holy Spirit made me pregnant” story.

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