Monday, January 17, 2011

Adoption in the Scriptures: Joseph and Jesus

Joseph is an amazing definition of a man. He represents something that's all too often missing in today's society - a good father. He was chosen to be the adoptive father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! He is often overlooked in the story, since it was such a big deal that Mary was chosen as the vessel to bring Jesus to Earth through the miracle of a virgin birth. But Joseph is someone I think we should really pay attention to… *ahem*… men should really pay attention to. So many men today run away from their responsibility to take care of their own children. But here is Joseph, stepping up and being a man when it wasn't his responsibility. How many men would do that today? How many men would do that ever? Joseph embraced the spirit of adoption that I believe in so wholeheartedly. What an awesome guy. To me, that's much more exemplary of what it means to be a father than simply lending your sperm to the cause. :/

Ha ha. Ummm, well that's my rant about men who leave their women after getting them pregnant. Jerks.

Anyway, here are 9 things that I love, love, love about Joseph…

1)      He sought out a very spiritual and righteous woman to be his wife. She wasn't just any woman! He found a valiant and chaste woman – the woman who turned out to be good enough to be the mother of the Lord! Every man needs a woman who can build him up spiritually and I love that Joseph wanted that in his wife.


Luke 1:26 – …the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,
Luke 1:27 – To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.
Luke 1:30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.

Luke 1:42And she [Elisabeth] spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou [Mary] among women…
Luke 1:45And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord.

Luke 1:46And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord,
Luke 1:47And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
Luke 1:48For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.

2)      Joseph was a gentleman. No hanky panky was going on! He had a long, customary engagement with Mary and he honored her chastity. Up until she conceived through the Holy Ghost (and even after that), she had not known a man. Good for him for supporting her covenants with the Lord!

Luke 1:31And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus.
Luke 1:34 – Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?

Matt. 1:18 – Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.

Matt. 1:25And [Joseph] knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name Jesus.

3)      When a woman was “taken in adultery” in New Testament times, the penalty was death. Mary being pregnant was enough proof that she had committed adultery and Joseph could have easily pursued justice and had her killed. It was within his rights as her fiancé. When he found out that she was with child and that it wasn't his, his first instinct was to have a private severing of the engagement. He loved her and didn't even want her to be embarrassed in public, let alone killed. He was a just man, and just because it was legal didn't mean that it was right.

Matt. 1:19Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily.

4)      Joseph led a righteous life. He was living his life in such a way that he was open to personal revelation through the Spirit. There's nothing better than a man who is living in harmony with the Spirit and walking uprightly before God.

Matt. 1:20But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.

5)      Joseph put aside any worldly concerns about marrying a pregnant woman who was not carrying his blood-related child. He had the spirit of adoption with him, and took on the role of Jesus' earthly father. Even Joseph's lineage is mentioned as Jesus' lineage, showing that Jesus didn't have to be his biological child in order to be his own. Obviously, God recognizes and approves of adoption!


Matt. 1:24Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:

Matt. 1:1 – [Intro to the Book of Matthew] The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham [abbreviated lineage of Joseph].

6)      Joseph was right there by Mary's side when she gave birth. That's a beautiful scene to me. One of the things that hurts me the most about infertility is not getting to have that experience. With adoption, it would be nice if I got to experience being at the hospital, although that may not happen either. Even though it wouldn't be me having the baby, that would be so special to me. I can see Zay nervously pacing in the hospital hallways already. Ha ha.


Luke 2:6And so it was, that, while they were there [in Bethlehem], the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
Luke 2:7And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

Luke 2:15And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
Luke 2:16And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

7)      Joseph was a protector of his family and he moved them wherever they needed to go in order to be safe. He worried about their safety and communicated with God in order to know how to protect them. To me, that's one of the most important roles of a father and Joseph was on top of things!


Matt. 2:13And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.
Matt. 2:14When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt:
Matt. 2:19But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt,
Matt. 2:20Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child's life.
Matt. 2:21And he arose, and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel.
Matt. 2:22But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judæa in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither: notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee:
Matt. 2:23And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.

8)      Every good father teaches their children how to work hard, and Joseph was no exception. He taught Jesus the trade of carpentry. I think those father-son moments would have been awesome to witness.


Mark 6:3 – Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary…?...
Matt. 13:55 – Is not this the carpenter's son?...

9)      Joseph provided a home that was ideal for Jesus to grow in wisdom. He was a righteous head of household, and taught Jesus the importance of things like temple worship and righteous traditions.



Luke 2:22And when the days of her [Mary's] purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him [Jesus] to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord;
Luke 2:24And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.
Luke 2:27…the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law,
Luke 2:39And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth.
Luke 2:40And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.

Luke 2:41Now his [Jesus'] parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover.
Luke 2:42And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast.

To me, these Scriptures are such a testimony to Joseph's character and about the sacred responsibility it is to care for children, however they may come to you.

It was such a fun and spiritual journey to research this topic and to read these Scriptures with Joseph, adoption, and fatherly responsibilities in mind. I think I'll continue to use the Scriptures to research adoption and infertility as well. Look forward to more posts about this!


  1. I've often though about Joseph and wondered what happened to him after the last recorded mention of him. This is just my speculation but I suspect he would have been such a defender of his adopted Son that Jesus' ministry would have been difficult for him to have endured so I'm thinking he must have died before Jesus started his active ministry.

  2. @Edward - Yeah, it's sad that we don't know more about him in later years. I've always assumed that he died before Christ's ministry, but a lot of the story is left untold.


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