December 14

Written by Bill Grandi on December 14th, 2023

All week long I’ve been looking at the women who are in Jesus’ genealogy. You can check them out here and here and here. But I’m going to shift gears this morning and talk about a man. Yes, I know you could say, “Pick a man. Any man” much like you would in a card trick. Jesus’ genealogy is no different in that respects from any other one from that time. {Side note: for Matthew to include women in Jesus’ genealogy was highly unusual. Women were considered non-entities in that day and age. Even in His lineage, Jesus breaks the mold}. Okay, off the rabbit trail and back on course. 🙂 The man is mentioned in Matthew 1:16 with a fuller story in verses 18-25.

Joseph. The earthly father of Jesus. The husband of Mary.

Jewish marriage was in 2 stages. The parents usually arranged the marriage to start with. The first stage was the kiddushin, or what we would call the engagement period. The second stage was the huppa. It was actually more like our engagement period, but the couple was considered married and had all the rights and privileges of marriage EXCEPT the sexual relationship. Joseph and Mary were in this stage.

That explains why Joseph sought to divorce Mary. In his eyes, the explanation Mary gave for being pregnant had to be incredulous. “Seriously? An angel told you what?” I honestly believe Joseph loved Mary and it was more than an arranged marriage at this point. His only go to was Mary had broken her virginity with someone. He just knew it wasn’t with him. Joseph was an honorable man. He didn’t want a scandal. He didn’t want to embarrass or demean Mary. Take her away. Divorce her quietly. Let her live her life without shame.

Until God intervened in a dream. Long story short (and you probably know it): Joseph did as he was told, i.e. stay with her and marry her and don’t have relations with her until after Jesus’ birth.  Then be the father to Immanuel. That seems like a lot to us. But consider this: Joseph went through life with the reputation of being married to a promiscuous woman-which, of course, was not true. Mary went through life being considered an immoral woman. On one occasion the Pharisees said to Jesus, “Well, we weren’t born as a result of sexual immorality.” (John 8:41).  Yeah, like let’s bring up someone’s past. “Mary, you had an illegitimate child. Joseph, you are the father of that child.” They lived with Nathaniel Hawthorne’s scarlet letter glowing brightly.

Joseph’s story seems to end sometime after Jesus’ turned 12 and was found in the Temple. It is surmised that he died after fathering other children with Mary. Joseph teaches us the importance of listening and saying “Yes” to God (just like Mary). Jesus had two good earthly teachers-a father who loved Him as his own, and a mother who loved Him until His death. May we all be like Joseph and be willing to change the course of our lives if led by God to do so.


8 Comments so far ↓

  1. Joseph was brave, honorable, and not afraid to follow God’s command, even in the face of societal disapproval. If you check the dedication page in my first Glade book, Joseph is included in my list of loving, caring step-fathers. He was God’s man and Mary’s protector as long as he lived. How I would have loved to meet him in person!
    Blessings, Bill!

    • Bill Grandi says:

      As you know, I will be checking that soon! 🙂 And I suspect you will get to meet him someday.

  2. Ryan S. says:

    This really goes along with your post from yesterday… When to say YES and when to Say NO… Joseph chose to say YES to God and continue the marriage with Mary and to raise a child that was not His own blood.
    In our society today, this is not uncommon. I was raised by my step-dad and have many family members that are raising children that are not in their bloodline.
    In Joseph’s time, this would have been much less typical and His willingness to take on that burden shows the character that he must of had.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      You make a good point Ryan. It happens much more today because of the nature of our culture. But back then…it would have been scandalous. And yes, the point I was trying to make was his character.

  3. gail says:

    Joseph is a perfect example of man that puts the need of others in front of his own needs. Even though he was falsely accused, he did not lash out at anyone, he quietly went about doing what God asked him to do, showing his love and obedience to God. He set a good example for all christians to follow, sometimes God will ask us to do things that are uncomfortable, hard, and way outside our comfort zone, but to serve God and to give God the glory is a privilege and honor we should all want to accompolish.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      You are right Gail. We are often asked to do things which are uncomfortable. But when we do them, and do them in the power of Spirit, God gets the glory. And THAT is the way it should be.

  4. Cheryl says:

    My family and I were just talking about Joseph the other day. We wish we knew more about him. He obviously passed away between his recorded conversation with Jesus at age 12 and His crucifixion, otherwise he would surely have been there with Mary. It saddens me that we don’t have more information about him.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      Yeah it is sad. All we hear is “Is this not the carpenter’s son?” so if it obvious that Joseph was around as Jesus was growing up.