Joseph: Much More Than a Carpenter (Matthew 1:18-25)

Joseph Was a Religious Man (18-19)
18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly.

1. He became betrothed to a Jewish girl (18)

a. a representative of the groom and the parents of the bride were involved in the process

b. it was confirmed by oaths and presents to the bride and the bride’s parents (dowry)

c. it was celebrated by a feast

d. Often, it was customary to place a ring on the bride’s finger (sign of love and fidelity)

e. to the Jews, betrothal was part of the marriage process

f. a change of intent by either party was very serious

g. an abrupt end to the betrothal could only be done through the man giving his wife a certificate of divorce

h. a Jewish betrothal usually lasted for a year

i. during that time they were considered husband and wife though sexual union awaited the time when the groom took the bride to his home and consummated the marriage.

(a-i) adapted from Nelson’s new illustrated Bible dictionary. 1995 (R. F. Youngblood, F. F. Bruce, R. K. Harrison & Thomas Nelson Publishers, Ed.). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, Inc

2. He became bothered by Mary’s alleged unfaithfulness (18b)

If a betrothed woman were to become pregnant, it was considered adultery against the marriage

- as you recall, one of the 10 commandments given to Moses on Mt. Sinai was a prohibition on adultery

3. He decided to divorce her (19b)

- to separate himself from Mary during betrothal was considered the right thing to do and expected of him

- as far as they were concerned, she had broken covenant with Joseph (obviously, they would be ignorant of the divine circumstances in which Mary could be both a virgin and pregnant)

Joseph Was a Righteous Man (19)
19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly.

1. He was serious about his faith (19a)

- though a carpenter, he didn’t allow that to excuse him from being spiritually mature

The Bible makes clear the husband is to lead the home spiritually. Whether his wife had a higher IQ or was more devout was no excuse

2. He was caring about others (19b)

- the way he conducted himself with Mary, even when he suspected the worst about her says much about him

Joseph Was a Chosen Man (20-21)
20 But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His nameJesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”

- Though Mary was the physical mother, Joseph was the chosen, earthly Father-figure

1. He was to go through with the marriage (20)
- having been assured that what Mary claimed was true

2. He was to give the baby the name Jesus (21)

- the same message Mary was given by Gabriel (Lk. 1:31)

- but he was told the reason (21c)

How about you?

Are you a religious man/woman?

- Do you follow God by reading and obeying His Word, the Bible?

Are you a righteous man/woman?

- Are you serious about your faith?

- Do you exhibit the fruit of the Spirit in your life?

Are you a chosen man/woman?

- Does God have a role for you to play in His plan “to save people from their sins”?

- Yes, you are chosen by God and He does have a plan for you

How do you know/find out?

Ask and you shall receive

- Pray – asking God what He has planned for you

- Remember - if you are not obeying God’s revealed will in the Bible

– don’t expect God to tell you more

– 10 commandments, New Testament commands given to us by Jesus and the Apostles

Seek and you shall find

– keep your eyes and your heart open to what it might be

Knock and the door shall be opened for you
– Knock, if you think you may know what it is, try the door – if the opportunity opens, that’s probably it (you don’t know if you don’t try).

While Joseph and Mary, as well as the Old Testament saints, looked ahead to the Savior Jesus and His sacrifice for our sins through His shed blood and resurrection, we look back with a much clearer view.  To begin this journey as a religious, righteous and chosen individual, the first step is to trust in Christ as your Savior.  Let our friends from Cru (Campus Crusade for Christ) help you with this step by clicking here.  

Let's pray:  
Heavenly Father, thank you for Joseph, the earthly father-figure in Jesus' life.  Thank you that he was a religious man, seeking to do what is right in your eyes.  Thank you that he was a righteous man, who was  a man of faith and caring toward Mary even when he suspected the worst from her.  Thank you that he was a chosen man, that you selected him to be the man who would be there in the early years of Jesus' life.  Help us likewise to be religious (seeking to do what is right in Your eyes), righteous (even to exhibiting a caring heart like our Lord's) and chosen (that our lives would allow you to use us in Your work on this Earth as you used Joseph).  It's in Christ's name we pray, Amen.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Note: preached at First Baptist of Bristol on Dec. 8, 2013

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