“Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the One Moses wrote about in the Law, the One the prophets foretold–Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph…They said, “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, ‘I came down from heaven’?” (Jn 1:45; 6:42)
Last Sunday we celebrated ‘Father’s Day’. There is one holy man in the Bible that I admire a lot. My choice may surprise you. I am talking about “Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus who is called Christ” (Mt 1:16). He is one of the most neglected characters of the Christmas story. But his life is a treasure of encouragement to me.
What is his story? Humanly speaking, Joseph’s life was not easy. He had to deal with much disappointment. First of all, as a husband, he heard that Mary, the girl he loved and planned to marry, was pregnant!!! Of course the Angel told him that she got pregnant by the Holy Spirit. But in his flesh, it was not easy to accept this ‘good news’. ‘The joy to the world’ meant silent sorrow (at least for some time) in the heart of Joseph. As a father he had his own pains. His sons with Mary did not believe that their older brother is the Messiah. “For even his brothers didn’t believe in Him (Jesus)” (Jn 7:5). Because Joseph was a believer in Christ, to have unbelieving sons, that was not an easy fact to deal with. Until he died, Joseph did not see his sons converted to Christ. Then there was also another painful issue he had to accept: his loss of social status! Joseph descended from the direct lineage of King David. In the history of Israel, the people of God became rebellious against God. They needed to be humbled. God sent them to Babylon for seventy years. When they came back to their land, they came without their royal mantle (read Matthew 1). They ‘lost’ their crown in the wilderness of Babylon. They came back as ordinary men. If it is not for the rebellion of his people, Joseph could have been ‘His Royal Majesty King Joseph’. He could have lived in David’s palace in Zion, married to a Queen and with many servants around him. But that dream died and was buried in Babylon. Instead, Joseph was known as the village ‘carpenter’, too poor to bring a lamb when his Son was dedicated at the temple. He could only bring two doves, the offering of a poor man.
But thru it all, with all these losses and disappointments, I do not see any trace of bitterness in Joseph. He was a man of God! He was a good caring husband to Mary. He was a wonderful father to Jesus and to his other sons. He was a righteous man, a wise, patient and spiritual man. God spoke to him thru dreams and he obeyed God with all his heart. He was led by the Holy Spirit! The Holy Spirit chose Mary to carry God’s seed in her womb. God also chose Joseph to be a father to Jesus for many years. The greatest achievement of Joseph was that he was called the father of Jesus!!! He lost his crown but his adopted Son was the King of kings!!! What a vindication!
What are the lessons for us today? Be born again! That is the first and most important lesson! As a child of God you can live a life of humility and thanksgiving, no matter the difficult circumstances around you. There is no need to look back, at what could have been. There is no need to compare yourself with others. If you are saved and filled with the Holy Spirit, then you shall be free from inferiority complexes, depression, doubt and bitterness. Your greatest achievement, your heritage and gain is your relationship with Jesus! In the light of His glory and grace, nothing else matters! Hallelujah!
(In the picture, you see Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus, wonderfully played by Mr and Mrs Joseph Alika (and baby) who are part of the drama organized by our church every Christmas and called ‘The Nativity’)