• P. Frank

Angel Visits Joseph

What is the God-inspired role of a husband? Husbands must love their wives; it is vital. His love needs to be intense, honest, and sincere. His love needs to be sacrificial, even to death. “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her.” (Ephesians 5:25). Husbands must also be the spiritual leader of the family. “I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.” (1 Corinthians 11:3).

Who was Joseph, son of David? He was a humble carpenter. We are not told how old he was, but we can safely presume that he was probably in his twenties or thirties when he met the Virgin Mary. We do not know the details of their courtship before they became engaged. In that culture at that time, the man would prepare their house before bringing his bride home. Maybe Joseph, being a craftsman, was in the middle of building a home for them, we don’t know. What we do know is that all of Joseph’s plans for his life with Mary were drastically changed overnight.

“Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.’ All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: ‘Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel’ (which means, God with us). When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called His name Jesus.” (Matthew 1:18–25).

What is the God-inspired role of a father? Husbands provide for their families. This provision from fathers is multifaceted, not just financially as we commonly define it. Fathers need to provide love, instruction, and protection among many other things. Just as a man is called to have sacrificial love for his wife, the same applies to his children. Fathers are to teach their children a healthy fear of the Lord. “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4). And when danger lurks, fathers are supposed to either stand their ground and fight it or scoop up their family and flee it, as when Joseph took Jesus and Mary to Egypt.

“Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, ‘Rise, take the child and His mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.’ And he rose and took the child and His mother by night and departed to Egypt and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, ‘Out of Egypt I called my Son.’” (Matthew 2:13–15).

For the second time, Joseph was visited by an angel of the Lord in his dreams. The first time, the angel of the Lord was delivering a message for Joseph to not throw away his marriage to Mary because she was still pure, even though she was clearly pregnant. God knew it was important for Jesus, the Son of Man, to be raised on earth with both His father and mother. That is God’s perfect plan for family, after all. This time, the angel of the Lord visited Joseph to give Joseph time to flee with his family in order for Jesus to avoid a premature death at the hands of King Herod. Jesus was destined to die on the cross for all our sins, not at the hands of a jealous worldly king. This warning also fulfilled another prophecy.

“But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, ‘Rise, take the child and His mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child's life are dead.’ And he rose and took the child and His mother and went to the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there, and being warned in a dream he withdrew to the district of Galilee. And he went and lived in a city called Nazareth, so that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled, that He would be called a Nazarene.” (Matthew 2:19–23).

After being told they could return home, Joseph was visited a fourth time by an angel of the Lord to warn him to go to Nazareth to live. Joseph was faithful to God’s Word each and every time God’s angel visited him to tell him something. It’s no wonder why God chose Joseph and Mary as His only Son’s earthly parents. Jesus was prophesied to be of the lineage of King David, but God also knew that there was no one better on Earth to do the job than this couple. That’s a mighty big task, to be an earthly parent to the only Son of the True and Living God.

Thanks be to God that Joseph heeded God’s warnings and listened. Joseph was a good and faithful father who took Jesus to the synagogues and temple. Joseph raised Jesus faithfully, knowing that one day, Jesus would not need his instruction anymore because He would be in communion with His Father in heaven and would go on to save all those who believed in Him. Even though Joseph had no blood connection with Jesus, he loved Him as if He was his own son. That faithfulness and dedication from Joseph is a great example of what fatherhood should look like. The perfect example of what fatherhood should look like is God’s relationship towards us. He would do anything to save us, including dying for us on a cross to bring us into his family in heaven forever. All glory be to God!