Today’s Gleaning condenses into text form a sermon last preached in June A.D. 2006…
Not all of us are fathers, but we all have shared in the parent and child relationship, for well or woe. If you think your parent to child or child to parent relationship was or is peculiar, special, and unlike any other, think about Joseph the husband of the mother of Christ. Mary is often called the blessed mother, as per Luke 1:48. We might call Joseph the blessed father.
Let’s be diligent to first affirm that our Lord Jesus Christ is the eternally pre-existent, only begotten Son of God, and that as to His humanity he was born of a virgin. Joeph is NOT Jesus’ father biologically. Yet, in Luke 2, Joseph and Mary are called Jesus’ parents; in verse 48 Mary herself refers to Joseph as Jesus’ father.
As certainly as Mary’s motherhood was real, Joseph was an earthly parent to Jesus. Surely, Joseph showed Him the carpenter trade. Surely they had special times together. Surely they had in common family affections for Mary and Jesus’ siblings (cf. Mark 6:3.) Surely Joseph was a dad who had a very unique Son!
Dads and granddads, are you serving God in how you recognize and show consideration for the peculiar character and personality of your children and children’s children? How does your stewardship of the life or lives God has given you to nourish compare to Joseph’s divinely given stewardship as Jesus’ dad? As fathers and men who occupy positions and have callings that are similar to fatherhood, what can we see in Joseph to imitate?
Joseph’s consideration of Mary’s welfare earns him the title of “a just man”, Matthew 1:19ff. In Matthew 2 and Luke 2 we see Joseph not abdicating and absent, but leading and guiding his family through difficult times. Joseph obeys God even when its difficult. It was probably not good for his carpentry business to take a young wife and Infant to a strange land (Egypt) for an indefinite period of time!
Most importantly, Joseph was his family’s spiritual leader and guide in spiritual matters. He observed the Law of the LORD regarding Christ’s circumcision. This covenant obedience on Joseph’s part implies that ceaseless, godly instruction followed the sign of circumcision, in the spirit of Deuteronomy 6:7.
In other words, God’s kingdom and righteousness are to be the subject matter of discussion, the passion, the absorption of covenant families – with dad as the one who makes it happen! It was in the spiritual environment which Joseph the godly dad established for his home that even the eternal Son of God, in the humility of His incarnation, matured and thrived!
Let’s also learn from this special relationship about how children should relate to their dads.
Consider what is said after the Boy Jesus is found in the temple (again, Luke 2) and the family’s caravan is returning from its yearly Passover visit to Jersusalem. Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Luke writes that Jesus CONTINUED IN SUBJECTION to Joseph and Mary!
Young person, if the Son of God was subject to His earthly parents, even when He was incapable of doing anything wrong, how much more just, fit, and reasonable is it for you to do so? “Honor your father and your mother: that your days may be long in the land which the LORD your God gives you.”
The greatest fatherhood is the fatherhood of God through His only begotten Son. The eternal Father has made known His will: that we come in repentance and faith for forgiveness, justification, and newness of life to the eternal Son Who offered Himself through the eternal Spirit as a sacrifice for sin (Hebrews 9:14). This is the only way we can enter the Father’s family, enjoy His protection from His just wrath which is coming on the world, and be guided by Him to heavenly pastures and the ever-flowing, crystal clear river of life.