We read very little about the life of Joseph, the Foster father of Jesus in the Bible. But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t any lesson we can learn from His life.
He was the husband of Mary and the foster-father of our Lord. Joseph’s name meant- “God will give the increase,” which signifies of the blessings of God on all those who listen to God’s word and obey it.
Joseph lived in Nazareth in Galilee (Luke 2:4), and was a carpenter (Matthew 13:55), by profession, which Jesus too took up later in His life.
The last time Joseph was mentioned was when Jesus was 12 years old and taken to the temple in Jerusalem. Joseph wasn’t mentioned during the wedding in Cana nor during Christ’s crucifixion.
Joseph had at least 4 sons and 2 daughters (Matthew 13:55-56), which proves that Mary wasn’t a virgin perpetually as many churches teach.
Today we will learn three lessons that we can learn from His life:
1. Forgive and show mercy
It is very difficult to imagine what Joseph went through when he came to know of Mary’s pregnancy after he got engaged to her. It wasn’t easy for him to handle that and he must have felt feelings of anger, dismay, frustration, and revenge.
In fact the Mosaic law stated that those who played the harlot were to be punished by stoning to death (Deuteronomy 22:23-24). Mary was guilty in the eyes of men of harlotry, as she was found pregnant before marriage.
But what does the Bible say about his attitude and actions, “Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly” (Matthew 1:19).
Joseph forgave Mary and instead of exposing her sin, he wanted to put her away secretly and to avoid public shame. What tremendous mercy Joseph had shown Mary, this compassion does not come from a spineless man, but from strong men who forgive rather than take revenge.
2. Obey God in every situation
Joseph could have easily listened to his heart and put Mary away but he hearkened to the voice of the angel of the Lord who appeared to him and said:
“Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her, is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:20-21).
Joseph responded by obeying God (Matthew 1:2-25), in a situation that could have gone any way, he obeyed God and put His trust in Him.
3. Joseph showed courage and faith in God
As Christians we are not called to do easy things, we have to take the right decision at the right time. Joseph knew very well that his decision to carry on with Mary’s pregnancy could spoil his reputation and credibility but he showed courage as a man.
Even after Jesus was born, their lives were at threat after King Herod ordered the killing of all male children in Bethlehem (Matthew 2:16). Joseph went to great extents to protect Jesus’s life even if it meant that his own life was at risk.
Featured image attribution: Distant Shores Media/Sweet Publishing