The strength of what we believe is measured by how much we are willing to suffer for those beliefs. Joseph was a man with strong beliefs. He was prepared to do what was right, despite the pain he knew it would cause. But Joseph had another trait – he not only tried to do what was right, but he also tried to do it the right way.
When Mary told Joseph about her pregnancy, Joseph knows the child was not his. His respect for Mary’s character and the explanation she gave him, as well as her attitude toward the expected child, must have made it hard to think his bride had done something wrong. Still, someone else was the child’s father – and it was mind-boggling to accept that the “someone else” was God.
Joseph decided he had to break the engagement, but he was determined to do it in a way that would not cause public shame to Mary. He intended to act with justice and love.
At this point, God sent a messenger to him to confirm Mary’s story and open another way of obedience for Joseph – to take Mary as his wife. Joseph obeyed God, married Mary, and honored her virginity until the baby was born.
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We do not know how long Joseph loved his role as Jesus’ earthly father – he is last mentioned when Jesus was 12 years old. But Joseph trained his son in the trade of carpentry, made sure he had good spiritual training in Nazareth and took the whole family on the yearly trip to Jerusalem for the Passover, which Jesus continued to observe during his adult years.
Joseph knew Jesus was someone special from the moment he heard the angel’s words. His strong belief in that fact, and his willingness to follow God’s leading, empowered him to be Jesus’ chosen earthly father.
Strengths and Accomplishments
- A man of integrity
- A descendant of King David
- Jesus’ legal earthly father
- A person sensitive to God’s guidance and willing to do God’s will no matter what the consequence.
Lessons From His Life
- God honors integrity
- Social position is of little importance when God chooses to use us
- Being obedient to the guidance we have from God leads to more guidance from him
- Feelings are not accurate measures of the rightness or wrongness of action
Vital Statistics for Joseph
- Where: Nazareth, Bethlehem
- Occupation: Carpenter
- Relatives: Wife: Mary, Children: Jesus, James, Joses, Judas, Simon, and daughters
- Contemporaries: Herod the Great, John the Baptist, Simeon, Anna
Key Verses for Joseph
“Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit’ “ (Matthew 1:19,20)
Joseph’s story is told in Matthew 1:16 – 2:23; Luke 1:26 – 2:52
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