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Thursday, December 12, 2013

Joseph: Why He's a Role Model for Young Men

Photo by: dan

The man God chose to rear His Son isn’t described in great detail in the Bible, but there’s enough to give us an accurate picture. He is an inspirational figure and makes for a fascinating character study.

We know Joseph was in the lineage of David, and his father’s name was Jacob. (Matthew 1:16) That same verse says that Jesus was born of Mary, not Joseph: Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.

Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS (Matthew 1:18-21, 24-25).

We notice several important character traits from this passage. Joseph was:
  • Just. This Greek word means righteous, virtuous. Joseph had a godly character.
  • Pure. Joseph did not have sexual relations with Mary while they were engaged and even after they were married, until after Jesus had been born.
  • Kind. Even though Joseph had every right to cancel his engagement to Mary on the basis of infidelity when he found out she was pregnant (supposing she had been unfaithful), he didn’t want her to be subjected to public scrutiny or stoned to death. He showed that he cared for her by thinking about a quiet divorce.
  • Trusting in God. When the angel appeared to him and explained the virgin birth and that Mary’s Baby was the promised Messiah, Joseph believed him. He had no problem acting on the Word of God spoken by the angel.
  • The leader of his family. From the very start, Joseph took the leadership. He took Mary as his wife, named Jesus as the angel had instructed him, took care of Mary at the end of her pregnancy, delivered the Holy Child, and later, took his family to Egypt to protect them from Herod’s wrath.

In other passages, we learn that Joseph was:
  • A carpenter by trade. (Matthew 13:55, Mark 6:3) Joseph was a hard-working man. In Bible times, carpenters made “mainly farm tools (carts, plows, winnowing forks, and yokes), house parts (doors, frames, posts, and beams), furniture, and kitchen utensils.”* Joseph supported at least seven children, plus Mary and himself. It’s obvious that Jesus learned the trade from Joseph. (Mark 6:3)
  • A devout Jew, who complied with the Law. Joseph and Mary took Jesus to the temple to be circumcised when he was eight days old. (Luke 2:21-24) They also went yearly to the temple to celebrate the Passover. Jesus first went with them when he was twelve years old, the traditional age for doing so. (Luke 2:41-49)
  • Father of at least six children. His sons were James, Joses, Simon, and Judas. There were also at least two daughters. (The girls are never named in the Bible.) Speaking of Jesus, the people of Nazareth said, Is not this the carpenter’s son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things? (Matthew 13:55-56; similar verse: Mark 6:3)
  • Deceased at the time Jesus was crucified and probably a while before. We know that Joseph was still alive when Jesus was twelve, but in other passages, Mary is alone or with her other children. Some of these instances are: the wedding at Cana (John 2:5, 12), and in Mark 3:31-32, where Jesus was teaching His disciples and his mother and brethren came seeking Him. At the cross, Jesus asked the apostle John to care for His mother. (John 19:25-26; Luke 1:27)

Joseph is a powerful role model for young men because: 
  1. He exhibited godliness and desired to please God. He obeyed God’s laws consistently and willingly.
  2. He respected Mary as a person and did not touch her body until he was permitted by God to do so. He evidenced true love in his respect for her as well as self-control.
  3. He led his family. Even though “his” Son was the Son of God, Joseph led his family. He protected Mary, Jesus, and later worked hard to provide for all of the family. He taught the trade of carpentry to Jesus, and probably his other sons as well.

I believe (personal opinion only) that God chose Jesus’ earthly father every bit as carefully as He chose Mary. Who else would have been so godly, kind, and such a good leader? 



  1. Si yo también pienso que eligió bien y cuidadosamente a los que debían ser los padres de su hijo en la tierra.


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