25 Days of Christmas – A Man of Great Integrity – Joseph the Carpenter
Imagine if you can, being a young, clean cut, man of God. You have spent your whole life being righteous; attending temple, celebrating the holy days, and always doing the right thing. You studied hard and learned a trade. Then you meet a girl. The girl of your dreams! It’s finally time to start your own family. You get engaged and patiently wait for your wedding day. And then word gets back that she’s pregnant. You’re not the father.
By all rights you could have her stoned. How could she do this to you? It’s a scandal of the highest proportion! Her story is preposterous! She claims this child is from God. The Messiah. But you care for this girl. You can’t make her suffer any more than she already must be. So you decide to just break off the engagement and let her go. It’s the right thing to do.
Before you get the chance to end things, you get visited by an angel. He tells you to go ahead and marry her. God really is the child’s father. And you’ve been chosen to raise this child! Sounds unbelievable doesn’t it? But this is the true account of Joseph the carpenter, the man chosen to be the father of Jesus Christ, the son of God.
We don’t hear much of Joseph after the Christmas story. There is only one more reference to him after the appearance of the wise men. It happens in Luke 2:41-52. Jesus is around twelve years old and gets separated from his parents after going to the temple. He had stayed behind to teach. His parents retraced their steps and found him there. That is the last time Joseph is spoken of in the bible. Early church fathers document that he died not long after this incident.
What we do know is that Joseph taught Jesus his trade. He taught Jesus to care for His mother. He taught Jesus his faith, and raised Him to stand in the traditions of the Hebrew people. He was a good father. He was an example of character and integrity. He was obedient to God. He dealt with humiliation and disgrace but followed God anyway.
Oftentimes, when we walk in obedience, we will experience humiliation and disgrace before men. But when we obey God, He will lead us and guide us, and count us as righteous, just as He did Joseph. It isn’t an easy road, but it is the road we should take. This Christmas, be obedient to God. Be a person of integrity. That’s the kind of person God can use!