Honestly, Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus, is a fairly shadowy figure in the Bible. The last mention of him chronologically is when Jesus is age 12. This is the episode in which Jesus returned to the temple without his parents knowledge; once they found him, they asked what he was doing. His response was that he was in his His Father's house. Jesus seems surprised that they did not know this. It is up to us to decide if mention of Joseph ceased at this time because of Jesus' first reference to his heavenly Father, or whether Joseph passed away. Joseph is mentioned nowhere during the accounts of Jesus' ministry, he is absent from the wedding at Cana, and- most tellingly- at Jesus' crucifixion, he gives the care of his mother over to one of his disciples.
We first learn about Joseph at the same time as the Annunciation. Matthew specifically refers to him as a "just man" and his behavior supports this. Upon learning of Mary's condition, rather than taking action that could have resulted in her death, he decides to privately put her aside. Of course, an angel speaking his dream cancels this course of action. Later verses indicate his profession: a carpenter. The Greek word used (tekton) indicates he was also skilled in other craft work, such as stone. We also learn he is a descendant of David. It is Joseph's adoption of Jesus that fulfills the prophecy that the messiah will be a descendant of David.
We see Joseph is obedient to the will of God multiple times. He follows the angel's instructions to marry Mary and father her child. When the angel speaks again telling him to flee to Egypt, he obeys. When an angel appears after Herod's death and instructs him to go to Galilee (not to his place of origin Judea), he obeys. He follows the Hebrew law about presenting the first-born in the temple and offer sacrifice. He followed the law about trekking to Jerusalem during the required holy days.
While we might not have many Biblical references to the man who is referred to a Jesus' earthly father, the information we do have is telling. He cared for his family, followed the Lord's commandments, and was a "just man." We can also assume that God's choosing him was not arbitrary; he is an example to follow.
Jennifer Becker Landsberger
Who am I? Freelance writer (magazines, websites, & copywriting), Catholic, military wife, and Mensan. Double Bachelor's in History & Psychology.
Witnessing by charity and love are above all. Studying the Bible and beyond helps me on this quest. Feel free to join my walk into the Bible.
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~~~Prayer before Writing-
Oh creator of the universe, who has set the stars in the heavens and causes the sun to rise and set, shed the light of your wisdom into the darkness of my mind. Fill my thoughts with a loving knowledge of you, that I may bring you like to others. Just as you can make even babies speak your truth, instruct my tongue and guide my pen to convey the wonderful glory of the Gospel. Make my intellect sharp, my memory clear, and my words eloquent, so that I may faithfully interpret the mysteries what you have revealed.
To my readers & fellow writers,
1. I will pray that God's grace helps illuminate all of our interactions- both those of simple reading and more active conversations.
2. I will communicate with you respectfully and civilly. These are (rightly) issues which we feel passionate about. But even in disagreements, I will respect you fellow "seekers of truth."
3. I will not fall into negative behavior or words, such as insinuations, exaggerations, blames, or personal attacks. I respectfully ask you to do the same.
4. I will pray we will all find the truth and strive to fulfill the two greatest commandments: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these." (Mark 12:30-31)
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Sites I Recommend
Biblical Evidence for Catholicism by Dave Armstrong