Summary: Father’s day message about Joseph, the adopted father of Jesus.
READ: Matthew 1:18-25; 2:13-15; 2:19-23.
Today is FATHERS’ DAY. I want to speak to you about a man - a FATHER - who is very often overlooked, I think. In some quarters he is overshadowed by the prominence given to his wife. I’m talking about JOSEPH, the husband of Mary and the adopted father of Jesus.
I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone else preach a sermon on Joseph. (Have you?) But I believe it’s a significant thing that even as God chose Mary to be the one who would give birth to the Son of God, so in His mighty providence He chose Joseph to be a FATHER to Jesus and to raise Him into manhood. Mary and Joseph were chosen together to be parents.
[ILLUSTRATION]: I remember a film that was on television several years ago. One of those depressingly sad movies that your wife forces you to sit down and watch with her as she systematically cries her way through an entire box of Kleenex, and then at the end says: “That was so sad - wasn’t it just wonderful?!” But this particular film I remember was entitled something like “WHO WILL LOVE MY CHILDREN?” The story tells of a poor family - hard-working parents with a large number of children - where the woman discovers that she has an incurable illness and will die within a year. Her husband is a good man, but obviously incapable of looking after the large number of children alone - particularly in those days when there was no government assistance or social security. And so the heartbreaking tale is of this mother who goes out searching for loving parents who will care for all of her children; she wants to have them all placed before she is taken. (If you ever intend to watch this movie, be warned - it’s definitely a king-size Kleenex movie!)
But as I recall this film, it leads me to thinking about the birth of Jesus. Just like that woman who loved her children so much that she wanted to personally choose parents for them, and not leave it to chance, Father God in the same way went looking for parents to raise His beloved, only-begotten Son. He searched the earth, and He found a young girl - a teenager engaged to be married - of whom the Bible says: she “found favour with God”. She was a choice young lady. A God-fearing young lady.
But NOTE: God also went looking for a father. He called Mary AND JOSEPH as a couple. And here is the point of it - GOD CLEARLY DEMONSTRATES FOR US THAT THE ROLE OF THE FATHER IS A MOST IMPORTANT ONE. Fathers are not only needed for the physical act of CONCEIVING a child; they are also needed for the spiritual act of RAISING a child. The child was conceived in the womb of Mary “by the Holy Ghost” - a miracle took place so there was no need for a man to be involved in the conception. But a man WAS still needed to fill the role of father in Jesus’ childhood.
(HAVING SAID THAT - let me say a word to single parents here today. Please don’t despair that your children are beyond hope because their father is gone, or their mother is gone - that is NOT the case. God is SO gracious. “Though my father and mother forsake me, yet the Lord will take me up.”)
Nevertheless, the normal pattern is for children to be raised with father and mother. And those single parents, I know, will testify tot he multiplied difficulties when one parent is gone. (Single parents, today, we salute you. We honour you. God bless you for your diligence with those children!)
So, Joseph was chosen. And just as God had looked for a godly young woman to bring forth the child, so He looked for a godly man to be the father. And what an inspiring model of fatherhood Joseph was. God made a good choice! (He is a WISE God.) Let’s look together, for a few minutes, at some things the Bible tells us about this man Joseph.
Firstly, would you note with me that he was:
1. A LOVING MAN.
The Scriptures draw the picture for us of a wonderfully caring and affectionate man. And we can see this, firstly, in his relationship toward Mary.
a.) TOWARD MARY.
Look at MATTHEW 1:19 for example. [READ.] Joseph finds out that Mary is pregnant. He hasn’t had any great revelation yet. What is he to think? What would YOU think guys> You’ve fallen in love with this pretty young girl. You do all the right things. You pursue her in the proper customary way. In stolen moments you’ve talked with her about dreams for a future together. A cottage with a white picket fence. A family. A business. And then out of the blue you learn that this sweet girl (you thought you knew so well) is pregnant. NEWLY pregnant. And you don’t know who the father is - but there is one person you know you can rule out! How does it make you feel? Angry? Betrayed?