ThoughtShades FrameWork

Essays, Themes, Opinions

Constructs, Practical Ideas, Applications

Poetry, Impression Writing

Sermons, Devotions

Personal Revelations, Illustrations

Viewpoint: Politics, Contemporary Issues, Editorials


Choice Offerings by Others

Powered by Squarespace
« The Second Level of Sonship | Main | Thoughts that Liberate »

Whatever Happened to Joseph?

Joseph, the earthly father figure for Jesus, dropped out of sight and sound after the nativity.  We see him briefly in Jerusalem when he and Mary lost touch with the twelve-year-old Jesus.  After that, he is nowhere to be found in Scripture.  This seems extremely odd for a man who sacrificed his reputation to give Jesus the appearance of legitimacy before He was born.  His refusal to divorce Mary, his offering of protection from the killer Herod, and his willingness to raise Jesus speaks of responsibility and commitment.  We know he taught Jesus the carpenter’s trade, but just when we should see him as a proud father, he vanished without a trace. 

Apocryphal accounts suggest that Joseph died sometime before Jesus reached maturity.  While this seems plausible, nothing in the canon of Scriptures backs this story up.  We are not told of when, where or how Joseph died, if indeed, he did.  One would expect that the death of someone who was as important as Joseph would attract the attention of a Gospel writer.  Even Matthew, who provides us with the most detailed record of Joseph’s life, fails to mention his death.  Neither Jesus nor Mary speak of it.  The inauguration of Christ’s ministry, the occasion of many of the miracles, the week of passion and many more significant moments of the life of Jesus came and went without a word spoken of Joseph. 

Could there be another explanation?  Did something happen that may have caused even more sorrow than death?  Did the disappearance of Joseph occur due to some painful or embarrassing facts?  As difficult as it may be to contemplate, something could have happened, in my opinion, that people who were related to the situation could not bear to reveal.  More to the point, I wonder if Joseph became disenchanted with his life with Mary and Jesus?  I do not throw this out as wild, irresponsible speculation.  I base it on the contrast between the hearts of Mary and Joseph.  Mary pondered the events of the incarnation and of the Jerusalem encounter with Jesus and the lawyers, and kept them in her heart.  (Luke 2:19, 51).  Nothing is ever recorded about the response of Joseph.  Both times happened when Joseph was obviously alive, yet we are told of Mary’s heart, but not Joseph’s. 

Once I began to follow this line of thinking, the questions seemed to mount.  Did Joseph begin to resent the birth of Jesus as time went by?  Did it complicate his status in the world?  Did it cause problems with his peer group?  Did he fail to understand the great plan of God in the incarnation?  Was he unable to get past the fact that Jesus was not his biological child?  I certainly don’t want to unfairly assess the situation, nor do I want to accuse Joseph of unfaithfulness or impropriety, but these questions beg to be asked, even if there are no satisfactory answers to them. 

Let’s press on.  How would you like to parent a perfect child?  Did Joseph sense a dysfunctionality with Jesus?  (If he did, it did not come from the heart of Jesus because the Scriptures tell us the Jesus was without sin.  Hebrews 4:15.)  Joseph, however, could have been confused and conflicted in raising Jesus.  I can envision many moments when Joseph possibly felt frustration and exasperation.  Later, when, according to custom, Jesus was to enter the carpenter’s trade, but declined to do so, Joseph could have wrestled with feelings of rejection and failure.  These possibilities would have been exacerbated without the heartfelt discernment or conviction that Jesus had a special mission in the world.  Without keeping them in his heart, whatever things Joseph understood in the beginning could have eroded over the intervening years. 

Mary was a different story.  The revelation she kept in her heart provided her with determination to stay engaged in the life of Jesus.  We see her at the marriage of Cana.  We see her at the cross.  We see her at the resurrection.  We even see her in the upper room.  “Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey. And when they had entered, they went up into the upper room where they were staying: Peter, James, John, and Andrew; Philip and Thomas; Bartholomew and Matthew; James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot; and Judas the son of James. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.” Acts 1:12-14 (NKJV).  Special note was made of Mary’s presence.  No word of Joseph. 

Is there an overarching message here?  It appears that the secret of Mary’s continued involvement stemmed from the musings of her heart.  For us, when life ratchets up the pressure, when people and circumstances disappoint us, when dreams and aspirations fail to materialize as we want, we must return to our initial revelation of Christ in our hearts.  Never forget that we are dealing with divine perfection.  If we try to fit God into a flawed, human mold, we will stumble.  If we try to make God into something we can control, we will fail.  If we try to use God to fulfill our will, He will refuse to cooperate.  It is not our world.  It is His world.  It is His purpose.  It is His mission. 

If Joseph did not die naturally, he may well have died spiritually.  If he died spiritually, it was because he did not keep his relationship with God fresh and vibrant.  He may not have allowed the Son to evolve into the leader.  Take a lesson from Mary.  She was a chosen vessel, but her significance diminished as the fully developed Christ ascended.  Her parenthood faded and she became a follower.  Jesus did not come to do our will.  He called you and me to do His will.  Let us do His will, regardless of the cost or the changes it causes in our lives. 

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments (1)

Very interesting thought!

March 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterFaizul

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>