The conversation today might be “Who cares about Joseph?” It seems, when we think of all the players involved in the birth of Jesus, Joseph would be the one least mentioned. Take a moment and think about it. Yet, his contribution was necessary for God’s plan to redeem men and women from sin. So let’s take a few short moments to ponder “So Why Joseph?”
This past Sunday we celebrated Christmas at Living Hope. It was a special day when we went retro with a morning service and evening candlelight service. Yes, it was common just a few years ago to attend two services on a Sunday. The focus of the AM service was on answering this question; you can click here to check it out. It was a time for us to dig a little deeper attempting to answer the question of why God chose Joseph. Let me suggest four possible reasons why God chose this particular man.
Joseph was a descendent of King David. The Old Testament is filled with God’s promises to David and his descendants that David’s throne would be established forever. It was also known that the Messiah would be from David’s bloodline. The prophet Isaiah wrote, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.” (Isaiah 9:6–7)
Joseph was what I call in slang God’s kind of people. Now, I know that God loves all people, but He seems to have an affinity for common people who are many times poorer. Joseph and Mary definitely fit into that category. They lived in the out areas of the nation of Israel far from the city of Jerusalem. Joseph in particular was a construction worker. He was a man that we would know nothing about if it was not for God’s intervention. Joseph and Mary were what I would call good people. God is always intentional in how he works and is almost always counter to the ideas of current culture. Jesus birth was an example.
Joseph was a Godly man. There is very little known of Joseph but even with limited information his character shines through. We know that he is a godly man because the Bible calls him a “just man” which means righteous. He was to understand that in him be a keeper of the Old Testament. We see his character through his actions. We learn that he decided to deal with Mary gracefully when he learned she was pregnant. This is a godly response from a young man that was probably in his mid to late teens. I need to point out that he did not blow up in anger and retaliate but he pondered the situation. Joseph chose to divorce her quietly and with dignity. A little later when the angel appeared to straighten things out for Joseph, Joseph responded by taking Mary as his wife and did not know her physically until after Jesus was born. I develop this more fully in the sermon but let me touch on one glimpse. It is when Jesus is twelve and stay in Jerusalem while his parents head home without Him. It is in this context that we read, “Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom.” (Luke 2:41–42) Let me point out the obvious. They participated in this worship event year! It meant that Joseph lead his family in worship. We also see Joseph doing the difficult things to protect and provide for his family by caring for Mary, fleeing to Egypt to protect Jesus and meeting their needs. I also find it interesting that two of Joseph’ biological family were influential in Jesus ministry and have written two New Testament letters (James and Jude).
“So Why Joseph?” I believe because God knew He could count on Joseph. The challenge I would bring to you is “How about you?”
-Pastor Joe Parkinson