JOSEPH THE CARPENTER
By Marvin Griffin at Highway Gospel Hall
March 28, 2018
Matthew 1:16, 18-25; Matthew 2:11-15
Luke 2:3-7, 16, 21-22, 39, 41-51
JOSEPH: means “may he add”
- chosen of God to “add” to God’s kingdom
- chosen of God to be the stepfather of Jesus
- the OT Joseph, son of Jacob, was a dreamer of prophetic dreams
- the NT Joseph, son of Jacob, was a dreamer of instructive dreams
TRADITIONAL young man: The time-honoured tradition was that parents of a young male would approach the parents of a young female about the possibility of their daughter becoming the wife of their son when they reached adulthood.
This was not a random thing but God was in it when a NT Jacob and his wife would pay such a visit to the parents of a maiden named Mary.
Thus the special young Joseph was betrothed to wed a special young Mary when the time was right. Of course, this would be dependent on physical health and moral uprightness on the part of both.
LESSON: Traditions are usually good and should be changed only for a good reason.
JUST young man: Joseph would have prepared a home to bring his bride to in the flower of her youth. However his eager anticipation would be dealt a severe blow as a covert communication would come from the young woman’s parents. Our dear daughter Mary is with child. She has a story how this came about but it is so extraordinary, can we believe it? The just in Joseph demanded divorce. Fornication must not taint his marriage.
LESSON: Do we do the right thing no matter the cost?
KIND & GENTLE young man: Joseph’s justness is well balanced by his kindness and gentleness. Joseph could not understand how his Mary could be with child by honorable means. It would be undreamed of that his betrothed would be THE virgin, the one among millions who would be the Messiah’s mother. So yes, Joseph thought about putting her away before they had ever come together. Had something happened in the hill country of Judea? Just a sample thought of many that Joseph may have had. Hurt, but not vengeful, Joseph wants to spare Mary from additional pain by divorcing her quietly, privately. He sought to keep the circle of shame as small as possible.
LESSON: Do we try to keep the circle of shame small? The Lord teaches us how it’s done in Matt. 18:15-17 verse 15 you & him alone, verse 16 one or two more, verse 17 the church.
THOUGHTFUL young man: (the 1st dream) Joseph didn’t act rashly or quickly but thought on these things and I think, slept on these things, giving time for the Lord’s input. Thus a most instructive dream is given to Joseph. The dark is made bright. The will of the Lord is made clear.
LESSON: Do we look before we leap? Do we think before we thump? We are the most blessed when we inquire of the Lord.
OBEDIENT young man: To my understanding the angel ended his instruction to Joseph at verse 21. It would have been helpful if Joseph remembered Isaiah 7:14 as Matthew quotes it in verse 23. Whether he did or not, Joseph was obedient. We read he did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him and took unto him his wife. This obedience would change the rest of his earthly life. (Not always to be desired) His eternal reward would be great (always to be desired!)
LESSON: Obedient – am I?
SELF-CONTROLLED young man: God-given, the sex drive is strong in young men. Joseph controlled his when it wouldn’t have been appropriate, before he had brought her home to be his wife. Joseph was equally self-controlled when it normally would have been right to consummate the marriage. The Scripture is concise and precise “and knew her not until she had brought forth her first-born son: and he called his name Jesus”. (More obedience!)
LESSON: God wants us to be self-controlled. It is part of the fruit of the Spirit. Does what I do with my body bring glory to God and further his kingdom?
LAW-KEEPING young man: Joseph saw to it that Jesus was circumcised on the 8th day. He made sure that Mary’s purification days were finished, then they brought Jesus to the temple to present him to the Lord and to offer the required sacrifice. In Luke 2:41, we read that Joseph and Mary went to Jerusalem annually to keep the Passover feast. Fast forward a few years, on such an occasion, Joseph was very active and anxious to find his “lost” step-son of 12 years. God had chosen Joseph to be a provider and protector for Mary and Joseph, a life-long commission.
LESSON: Are we as eager to please the Lord as Joseph was?
PROTECTIVE young man: (the 2nd dream) Joseph, upon the instruction of the angel to take the young child and his mother and flee to Egypt, did not hesitate. No doubt, the night departure was extra protection in that there would be no witnesses as to the direction they went. We are beginning to see that Joseph’s obedience to God and protection of his charges was at quite a cost. He must leave his native land and go into exile in Egypt.
After an unspecified time,(the 3rd dream) instructs him to take the young child and his mother back to Israel. Herod is dead. Joseph would be happy to obey only to find to his dismay that Herod’s son was on the throne. Then (the 4th dream) came as a result of this continued danger. The angel warns Joseph and he takes the young family to live in Nazareth.
LESSON: Our children and God’s people need protection. Love bears (to roof over, cover) all things.
PROVIDING family man: Joseph worked hard to provide for his family. His trade was carpentry. Matthew 13:55 “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?” Some scholars read into this verse that Joseph was still alive until the early days of Christ’s ministry but passed away before His crucifixion. We really aren’t able to be conclusive as to the time of Joseph’s passing. He also took the time to teach Jesus the same trade. Mark 6:3 “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary”.
LESSON: May we too take it seriously to provide for our own and serve the Lord in our generation.
© Copyright 2018 by Marvin Griffin. Please do not copy or distribute this content without the express written permission of the copyright owner.