|photo courtesy of visualbibleimages.com|
His betrothed, Mary, came to him one day saying an angel visited and brought a message saying she was highly favored, the Lord was with her, and that she was blessed among women. She watched for his response.
Joseph didn't expect to hear Mary was pregnant, that she was chosen to be the one to mother the Son of God. He didn't seem to believe her. The Gospels tell us he didn't want to make a public spectacle of her. Instead he decided to put her away secretly. He could have been cruel, abused her, threw her out, but he didn't.
God in his mercy, sent an angel to explain the news to Joseph. The angel told him not to be afraid to take Mary as his wife because the baby growing in her was of the Holy Spirit. Joseph was to name the baby Jesus, for He woulld save His people from their sins. Like Mary, he accepted the message without challenging the validity and chose to care for Mary rather than follow through with his original plan to put her away.
Joseph, too, had to endure cruel words from friends and family who learned about Mary's pregnancy. He told them what the angel said, but some may not have believed and thought she wasn't good enough to be his wife.
He had months to think about the responsibility of having a son. But this son was no ordinary son. God trusted him, a mere man, to care for and raise His Son. Would it be all right to teach Jesus to be a carpenter? He wouldn't know how to teach any other trade.
In Mary's ninth month of pregnancy, the Gospels tell us Joseph took Mary with him to register for the census instead of leaving her to register with her family. He encompassed his duty as future husband of Mary and treated her with compassion.
The eighty mile trip to Bethlehem gave him lots of time to think. He saw Mary's discomfort as she rode the donkey. He hoped there would be room in an Inn. He wondered if they would arrive in Bethlehem before the baby came.
Yes, God would take care of them, but Joseph didn't have details. Where would they stay? Who would help Mary birth the baby, God's Son? Should they stay in Bethlehem after the census? What else did God want him to do for His Son?
What might Joseph have thought the night the shepherds came to visit Mary and baby Jesus? Was he happy and considered the visit another confirmation from God? Did he wonder if he should let the shepherds in to see Mary with the new baby? They were dirty and smelly.
Or what about the day the wise men came? Jesus was a little older. The Bible does not say Joseph knew the wise men would come or that they would bring such expensive gifts to worship the King. Imagine his surprise.
The Gospels tell us that God spoke to Joseph in a dream around the time Jesus was two years old. He told Joseph to take his family to Egypt to escape danger. Joseph immediately obeyed.
We aren't told too much about Joseph. But from what God revealed in the Bible, we can see why Joseph would have been chosen to be Jesus' earthly father.
Can you help me add more thoughts to our picture of Joseph?