Joseph of Nazareth


Joseph teaching Jesus carpentry
Joesph of Nazareth

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Fatherhood is one of the most important jobs in the entire world. I cannot even begin to explain how important having a good role model for a father can be. Now imagine your not rich but you have learned a trade and finally feel that you can provide enough to support a family. You look around and find a wonderful girl, she's quite devout but that's OK, you were raised within the faith to keep the laws of your people, she's attractive and you have decided it is time to settle down and have a family. You get engaged with the full betrothal ceremony then, she leaves town to go visit her Aunt for a while and comes home pregnant. You think about calling it off, but in your village that means she would be killed, even though this is not your child you don't want her death on your conscience so you decide to marry her and then later quietly divorce her, she would be shamed but alive.

Then you find out this is God's son she is carrying.......Oy veh!! You are going to be raising the promised Messiah, God's son, as your son. Most new fathers are scared at the idea in the beginning, but think of Joseph's position. He would have been scared witless for a while, I mean what happens if you don't do a good job, what happens if you have to spank the Messiah? He and God must have had some talks during those month's of Mary's pregnancy. Joseph appears in the New Testament only a few times, mainly in the infancy narratives of Matthew and Luke. While the theologians and academics claim, 'These are part of the proclamation of who Jesus is rather than historical narratives' and 'No reliable biographical material about Joseph is available.' We can learn quite a bit from the gospels which as far as I am concerned ARE RELIABLE!

Matthew wrote his gospel mainly for the Jews, so he was careful to establish that Jesus was of David’s line, through Joseph, but Luke establishes that Mary also was of David's line – T's crossed and i's dotted, for the Jews. Matthew and Luke both present Joseph as a loyal and faithful Jew, a good and just man. He trusts the message of the angel that Mary’s pregnancy is “of the Holy Spirit”. He attends to the appropriate rites of circumcision, naming and purification associated with the birth of Jesus, and makes the annual pilgrimage to Jerusalem for the Passover. He flees from his homeland leaving behind everything he knows and his growing business, without complaint or question, to protect the child, taking the small family to Egypt during Herod’s reign. When Jesus is 12 yrs old and goes missing on the journey back from one of the feasts in Jerusalem, Joseph shares with Mary the anxious search for Jesus.

Matthew refers to Jesus once as “the carpenter’s son” (Matthew 13:55). Luke calls Jesus “son of Joseph” (Luke 4:22). In John, Philip tells Nathanael about “Jesus, son of Joseph” (John 1:45), and the crowd asks, “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know?” (John 6:42). So we know Joseph was a tradesman, a carpenter, a respected member of a community. Since other members of Jesus’ family are mentioned in the ministry of Jesus whereas Joseph is not, it is presumed that Joseph died before Jesus’ ministry began. But Joseph can say with pride, “I raised well the sons God gave me, the most important job, I ever had.”

BORN: Bethlehem, Judea.

DIED: Nazareth, Israel.