In family histories, there is usually a space in time that are called the “lost years.” A friend of mine laughs as she remembers her brother’s college years. She calls them the “lost years of John” because she has no idea what he did during that time. I think I lost a few years myself in middle school. But sometimes I lose even more, I tend to forget about a rather important figure in the Bible.
As a Christian, Jesus is always involved in my Bible study in some form. Mary, His mother, interacts throughout His ministry years. But I tend to forget about Joseph. Maybe because he drops out of the picture without fanfare. But I wonder if other people forgot him, too. He was a carpenter, so a manual laborer. Matthew 1 tells us he was a righteous man, so a good guy around town. But there must have been something about Him to have such a role in Jesus’ life.
We work hard to make it very clear that Joseph was not Jesus’ REAL dad. Just his earthly dad. Oh yeah? Just a dad on earth? Imagine being the dad of the Son of God! What kind of man wants that responsibility, or gets that privilege? Joseph would have taught the young Christ how to talk, make a trade, get along with other people, the laws of being a Jew. How much did the title, “Savior” color how Joseph taught Jesus right from wrong, fixed a scraped knee, or critiqued a first project?
Matthew tells us how the angel addressed Joseph:
“20 But when he had considered this, behold, 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. 21 She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.’”
Joseph was a son of David, descendant of a king. In another time and place, he could have been king. Joseph was the one instructed to make sure the child was named Jesus.
Did Joseph make the connection between a virgin birth and Isaiah’s promise? He had months to consider it, ponder it, wonder over the promise that was actually happening, coming.
We do not have the full story on Joseph’s death, only the fact that Jesus turned the care of His mother over to John, His disciple, showing that the role of caretaker had already been passed on to Him as the oldest son. It will be a good story to listen to in heaven. For now, I will be paying more attention to the quiet, sturdy believers around me, the righteous men. Because their testimony may be powerful, just like Joseph’s.
God, thank You for the hidden people in the Church who do quiet acts of service to You. Thank You for Joseph, who guarded, led, and taught the little family as Jesus’ earthly dad. What a thing for a Father to give another guy: care of His Son. Please bless the righteous men in the Church, and help me to see and appreciate their stories of faith and action.
And God, on this anniversary of an earth-shattering day for America, thank You for the people who gave their lives. Please help the families, the survivors, and all of us to forgive. Fear seems to cloud so much of the news, and interactions with others. Please help us to seek Your face as a country. We live in a sin-torn world, with so much hurt and destruction in each country and household. Please help Your global Church to be united under You, and the promise of a Kingdom without war, that You will establish forever. To Your glory, God. Amen.