After the birth of Jesus, Joseph again heeded God’s command and took the baby and Mary to Egypt. Hundreds of years earlier, Joseph, son of Jacob, had been sold into slavery and forcibly taken to Egypt. This young family’s freedom and safety would depend upon journeying to the land that once enslaved their nation. It makes you wonder what thoughts Mary and Joseph had as they made their escape. Could they possibly find refuge as Jews in a foreign land? Then, at the proper time, he once again obeyed God’s command to return his family to their homeland. Oh, that we could be so faithful to go where and when our Lord commands us.
During the time in Egypt and once they made a new home in Nazareth, Joseph raised his oldest son as would any good Jewish father. He taught him the family trade. Like his father, he became a carpenter. A carpenter takes ordinary wood and crafts useful tools and specialty items. God used ordinary matter to create all that is around us.
Joseph taught Jesus to be an observant Jewish young man. We see a result of his religious training when he remained behind at the temple in Jerusalem. Jesus was holding court, as it were, with the most learned of Jewish teachers. We are told that everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding. Yet, when his parents came, he obeyed them (the first commandment with a promise) and grew in wisdom and stature.
Some would say this is the last time Joseph is mentioned in the Bible. That’s not quite accurate, though. After he was grown, Jesus was referred to as “the carpenter’s son” and the “son of Joseph”. Clearly, the trust God placed in Joseph in raising the baby Jesus into a man was well-placed. In Joseph, we see a compassionate man who had pity on his betrothed. A man who heeded God’s commands and warnings. A man who lived out his beliefs and held strongly to his convictions. A self-controlled man sensitive to the needs of others. A man entrusted with a great responsibility, and who lived up to it even though it meant public ridicule. Kinda reminds you of his son, doesn’t it.
Next time – Cornelius.