Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | December 1, 2021

Key Man Behind the Scenes

(3 Minute Read. 1Dec2021)

A key participant in the first Christmas is a man about whom very little is known. Yet he played a vital role in the life of Jesus of Nazareth.

Who is he?

This man was a craftsman, a man of honor, and an international traveler. He safely conducted women and children on long journeys.

Who is he?

This man is Joseph, the husband of Mary, the mother of Jesus.

Although not much is recorded about Joseph, he played an important role as the adoptive father of Jesus. And what we do know about Joseph is very, very commendatory.

We first read of Joseph in the New Testament book of Matthew. He was betrothed to Mary who turned up pregnant. Joseph could not swallow Mary’s wild story about being pregnant by the Holy Spirit nor her assertion that she had not known a man. Mary’s claim that the angel Gabriel announced this occurrence to her seemed preposterous beyond belief to Joseph. (Luke 1:26-38)

Who can blame Joseph for not believing Mary at first? Never before in the history of the world had a virgin become pregnant. A human male was always the father.

So Joseph decided to sever his betrothal to Mary quietly. This simple report in Scripture reveals that Joseph was a remarkably righteous and kind man. Naturally presuming Mary had gotten pregnant with another man’s child, he surely felt heartsick, angry, and betrayed. Yet Joseph was not seeking to shame or humiliate Mary. (Matthew 1:19)

As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a Son; and you shall name Him Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:20-21)

How would you have responded to this mind-boggling message? Joseph believed the angel. He acted on that belief and obeyed the angel’s instructions. Joseph did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took Mary as his wife, but kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he named Him Jesus. (Matthew 1:24-25)

Joseph’s obedience to the angel’s message is impressive given the terribly unusual circumstances. Later he also obeyed when the angel sent him to Egypt to avoid Herod’s search and yet again when the angel told him to return to Israel. Matthew records four dream warnings and instructions from God which Joseph promptly obeyed (Matthew 1:20-25; 2:13-15; 2:19-23). This is evidence of extraordinary spiritual strength and responsiveness to Yahweh’s commands.

Scripture describes Joseph as righteous (Matthew 1:19). He kept the Mosaic Law by taking Mary and Jesus at 40 days old to the Temple in Jerusalem to offer the required Levitical sacrifice for the birth of a son (Leviticus 12:1-8; Luke 2:22-24). Every year he and Mary went to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover (Luke 2:41).

Joseph was a capable man. He conducted a pregnant, almost full-term Mary on a 100-mile journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem. Later he took Mary and Jesus on a much longer journey from Bethlehem to Egypt. Then after Herod died, Joseph escorted Mary and the Christ child back from Egypt to Nazareth.

The Carpenter’s Shop
by John Everett Millais (1829–1896)
L to R: Carpenter’s assistant, Mary’s mother, Mary, Jesus, Joseph, John the Baptist

Jesus grew up in Nazareth where Joseph was a carpenter. He taught this trade to his oldest son. Joseph fathered at least two daughters and four sons, James and Joseph and Simon and Judas. (Matthew 13:55; Mark 6:3)

When Jesus was 12 years old, Joseph was still alive. But it is likely that he died before Jesus started His ministry. Joseph is not mentioned as being at the Cana wedding with Mary at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, nor is he included in Jesus’ move to Capernaum right after the wedding with His mother, brothers, and disciples. Joseph had certainly died by the time of the Crucifixion because Jesus entrusted His mother to John’s care. That would not have been necessary if Joseph were alive. (Luke 2:41-42; John 2:1-12; 19:25-27)

Are You a Joseph?

Joseph was godly, righteous, obedient, responsible, and capable. He was charged with safeguarding the Son of God, with raising and training Him. He fulfilled this key responsibility that the Great Creator assigned to him. Yet he worked mostly behind the scenes. Joseph was a humble, faithful servant in an essential supporting role.

Is your work mostly unseen and unpraised by men? Do you serve mostly out of the limelight as Joseph did? Do you do jobs that need to be done but that few want to do?
Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve. (Colossians 3:23-24)

To all you Josephs, thank you for your servant attitude. Thank you for your faithful work.

Do you know any Josephs who faithfully serve behind the scenes? Be sure to encourage them and thank them for their important work.

Questions to Ponder

1. Is your heart set to treat others with mercy and restraint, even in preposterous circumstances, as Joseph did?
2. For what humble task do you need perseverance like Joseph?

Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

For Christ and His Kingdom. Soli Deo Gloria. Alere Flammam Veritatis.

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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
“for the defense of the gospel”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:5; Phil 1:16)
Wednesday December 1, 2021 A.D.

“Ah Lord GOD! Behold, Thou hast made the heavens and the earth by Thy great power and by Thine outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for Thee.” (Jeremiah 32:17)

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