THE FATHER GOD CHOSE FOR HIS SON
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, that it’s also important God also chose Joseph to be a FATHER to Jesus and to raise Him into manhood. Mary and Joseph were chosen together to be parents.
So, Joseph wasn’t just some afterthought in God’s plan. The reason God chose Joseph was because of his character the he showed toward Mary. Let’s look at some things the Bible tells us about this man Joseph.
Firstly, we note that he was:
I. A LOVING MAN.
The Scriptures draw the picture for us of a caring and affectionate man. And we can see this, first, in his relationship toward Mary.
a.) TOWARD MARY.
Look at MATTHEW 1:19 And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly.
In Max Lucado’s book “A Love Worth Giving” he writes, Joseph finds out that Mary is pregnant. He hasn’t had any great revelation yet. What is he to think? What would YOU think if you were a man? You’ve fallen in love with this pretty young girl. You do all the right things. You pursue her in the proper customary way. You’ve talked with her about dreams for a future together. A house. A family. 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?
The penalty for adultery in the Old Testament was death by stoning. And this penalty applied to infidelity during betrothal as well as marriage. Upon discovery that Mary was pregnant, Joseph would have been obliged to divorce her (DIVORCE WAS REQUIRED TO BREAK OFF A ENGAGEMENT), and this would expose Mary to public shame and humiliation.
BUT, even before God spoke to Joseph - Joseph didn’t have any vengeance or bitterness in his heart. The Bible says: he “was minded to put her away privily”. (There were ways in which a divorce could be enacted very quietly, without the involvement of a judge, and Joseph was already considering the best way to do this.)
Joseph was a loving man toward Mary.
But we also see that Joseph was a loving man in his relationship toward Jesus.
b.) TOWARD JESUS.
When the child came along there was no attitude in Joseph that “THIS BOY ISN’T MY FLESH AND BLOOD”. There was no resentment or indifference toward Him; no lack of love at all.
JOSEPH ADOPTED JESUS AS HIS OWN. He protected Him from the hatred of Herod. He nurtured Him and cared for Him. Evidently he taught Jesus his own trade of carpentry.
TODAY, we find countless men who are willing to walk away from their roles as fathers. The Bible says in, 1 TIMOTHY 5:8 But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.
Joseph was a LOVING man. That’s the first thing that is clear. SECONDLY: Joseph was . . .
II. A DEVOUT MAN.
a.) He was a man who OBEYED God.
He explicitly followed the Lord’s leading and direction. He didn’t follow his own plan for life - he wanted God’s plan for his life. So when God spoke to him in a dream and told him to wed Mary (even though she was pregnant) HE OBEYED.
Then when God spoke and said: “Take Mary and Jesus and flee to Egypt for safety” - he immediately obeyed. He closed up his business and left.
Then when God said: “It’s O.K. now, head back to Israel”. again he did as he was directed. He was a man of obedience.
b.) He was also a man of FAITH.
It takes FAITH to pack your bags and head off to a foreign country with no prospects and no planning; simply on the basis that God said so. He had faith and obeyed the dream. He could have made excuses to stay where the work looked good, but NO - he was a man of faith.
c.) He was a man who was FAITHFUL IN SPIRITUAL DUTY.
He set an example for his family - going to the Temple; attending the feasts. We read about it in LUKE 2:41 Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover.
He was regular in going to God’s house.
[ILLUSTRATION]: There was a little boy who was playing on a Sunday morning while his Dad sat in a chair reading the paper. The father said: “Son, get yourself ready for Sunday School”. The little boy asked: “Are you coming with me today Dad?” The man replied: “No, I’m not coming. But I want you to hurry up and get ready”. The little boy then said: “Did you used to go to Sunday School when you were a boy, Dad?” He said: “I most certainly did!” As he walked away the boy mumbled: “Yeah, and I bet it won’t do me any good either!”
OUR KIDS ARE WATCHING OUR FAITHFULNESS.
Finally, he was also:
III. A WISE MAN.
By all accounts it seems that Joseph had a SHORTENED LIFE. We don’t read of him after Jesus’ childhood, and at the Cross Jesus charged John with the care of His mother - so it seems that Joseph was taken from them prematurely. But JOSEPH HAD USED WHAT TIME HE HAD BEEN GIVEN WISELY! He had provided for his family. He had set an example for them that they would remember.
Fathers! None of us know just how much time we have left with our children; with our families.
ARE WE USING OUR TIME AS JOSEPH DID? Encouraging our families at every opportunity; setting an example; providing for their needs.
I mentioned that verse earlier 1 TIMOTHY 5:8 But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.
Our families need a lot from us
Laughter and warmth?
We must provide for our own. Let’s be challenged to be men like Joseph.