I have had the joy and privilege over the past couple years to be blessed with two beautiful and wonderful grandsons. I pray that I will be around to see the men that they will become. As proud as I am of the mothers my daughters have become, I am impressed with the dads my sons-in-law are. Their love and devotion for my daughters and their sons are evident—both of them display sacrificial love, Daddy love—there is none so powerful! I also have a son, who is not yet a dad, who displays the same love for those he serves, and I am confident that someday he will be an awesome Daddy.
I have also been blessed to be in fellowship with several men. We try to get together regularly, but life happens and gets in the way. But we consistently lift each other up, we encourage each other, we laugh together, we cry together, we pray together.
What is a man supposed to be like? How are we to act and react to challenging situations? Some of us have had wonderful examples from our dads and other men in our lives…others have not been so fortunate. As we approach Christmas, Jesus is obviously the main event, but as we hear the biblical story Mary (well deserved) gets a lot of attention also. The man in the story often gets left as a side note or afterthought. His name is Joseph—Joseph was a man—Joseph was a man’s man—in contemporary terms we might say “Joseph, you ‘da man!”
I want to spend a bit of time exploring this man:
What do we know about him?
- He was of the royal line of David so that the prophecy of Jesus Christ would be fulfilled.
- He is not quoted in Scripture.
- He was called by God for a very specific and profound purpose.
Here are some character traits of Joseph:
- Compassionate: Matthew 1:19 “And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly.” He dropped his own pride to protect the woman he loved, even before knowing the whole story.
- Obedient: He obeyed God at every turn of this story. Staying with Mary, going to Bethlehem for the census (Herod only thought he was in control of this—this was prophecy fulfillment), taking Jesus and Mary to Egypt. Returning to Nazareth.
- A mentor: It appears that Jesus “walked in the footsteps” of his earthly father and took up the craft of a carpenter. In the movie “The Nativity” Joseph, after understanding who his baby son was, asks out loud “What can I teach him?” Presumably, when answered he did so.
- Integrity: Even when faced with a situation that would be difficult for any man to deal with, he handled it with class and character—this is only possible when that is the core of one’s self. Joseph not only strived to do what was right, but also to do it in the right way. Even when he doubted Mary’s story of immaculate conception, he put her first—despite the public humiliation he faced.
- Righteous: Matthew 1:18 says he was “a righteous man.” That’s a pretty big compliment in Scripture, and it summarizes his character.
- Man of great faith: After the first appearance of the angel of the Lord to Joseph there is no indication that he wavered in his faith. He understood that with God all things are possible.
What happened to Joseph?
- The last we hear about Joseph is in Luke, Chapter 2, the scene of the 12-year-old Jesus at the temple. Scripture does not tell us what happened to him after that, so we can only speculate.
- He most likely died before Jesus began His public ministry some 18 years later. While it is obvious there was a father-son relationship between the two, it is somewhat frustrating to us that this relationship was not recorded. But this would have been during the “silent years” of Jesus’ life and would not be in the revelation God had for us.
- The only other explanation is that Joseph lived, but just was never mentioned again. That seems unlikely with his absence at Calvary and in John 19:27 we are told that Mary moved into John’s home.
God determined that even His Son needed an earthly Daddy and that Mary needed a husband. This tells us the importance God places on those who fulfill these roles. Men, we cannot take this position lightly. If the Lord of the Universe wants a Daddy, our relationship with our kids, our wives, and all those we come in contact with must be of top priority to us.
Merry Christmas—and Lord, bless men!