What I Respect About Joseph

An angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:20, NLT).

What we know about Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus, is mostly found in the Gospel of Matthew, which isn’t surprising since Matthew wrote his Gospel for the Jews.

Joseph is mentioned in Luke as Mary and Joseph traveled to Bethlehem. Luke also records Jesus at twelve years old in the temple, discussing the Law with Jewish scholars, and Joseph and Mary looking for Him.

Joseph isn’t mentioned in the Gospel of Mark or the Gospel of John. 

There is no mention of him in the Gospels during the ministry of Jesus. 

We see many incidents of Jesus interacting with his mother during His ministry but not Jesus with Joseph. This leads to the assumption that Joseph died between the temple incident and the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. 

There are no reliable historical records or legends of what happened to Joseph. So, to answer the question of what happened to Joseph?  The answer is, “We don’t know.”

But we do know one thing about Joseph. It’s what I respect most about him — and yet nobody ever talks about it.

Okay, Pastor Grant – What is it?

Joseph had dreams. It was how God communicated with him.

  • An angel appeared to Joseph in a dream, explained Mary’s conception, and told him to take Mary as his wife (Matthew 1:19-25).
  • An angel suddenly appeared to Joseph in a dream and told him to take Mary and Jesus and flee to Egypt to avoid the killing of the innocents by Herod (Matthew 2:13-15).
  • An angel again appeared to Joseph and told him it was safe to return to Israel as Herod had died (Matthew 2:20).
  • And a final angel talked to Joseph in a dream, telling Joseph it was safer to settle his family in Galilee (Matthew 2:22).

Four dreams defined God’s purposes for Joseph’s life, and through his dreams, we are blessed today.

We can flippantly look over the angel and dream thing by thinking, “Duh, if an angel appeared to me in a dream, I would know it was God talking, and I would obey.” 

My challenge would be, “Are you sure?”

We easily dismiss dreams we have today or don’t remember them at all. Agreed, an angel is hard to deny, but why did the angels only appear in dreams? Why not just appear and speak to Joseph in his carpenter shop?  

Joseph could have said, “Thanks, angel, for the advice. Can you hand me that adze so I can finish this table?”

But Joseph had learned that God speaks in dreams. He knew how to listen, and he obeyed. Dreams were a solemn event for Joseph. 

Okay, perhaps I’m making a big issue out of a happenstance. Maybe there is no significance of angels appearing in dreams. But note that in the Apostle Peter’s first sermon to the church, he described the end times as “Old men shall dream dreams” (Acts 2:17).

Maybe the angel, Joseph, and the ensuring guidance are examples for us today.

Since we live in the end times, we need all the help we can get!

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