Lesson Thirteen | Devotion #1: Joseph
James Mann | Children’s Director

Who is Joseph?

There are more than 12 different Josephs in the Bible. Some of them have remarkable stories, and some of them have one verse about them. The Joseph we are going to be spending some time with is Jesus’ father. Not much has been documented about Joseph, and the information we do have on him sometimes contradicts one another. For example, we are not sure who his father is. In Matthew, we read that his father is Jacob. This is what most people know. Then when you read the genealogy in Luke, we learn that his father is Heli. Is one a stepfather and another his birth father? Is one of them an uncle? Does Luke’s genealogy through Mary’s family line making Heil his father-in-law? This is a completely different topic for another time.

For someone who raised Jesus, it is shocking how little we know about him. For this devotional, I would like to take some time and discuss what we do know about Joseph. For the sake of all our sanity, I am going to be working out of Matthew instead of hopping around between all the Gospels. Joseph was a carpenter who was married to Mary, the mother of Jesus. Through a divine action, Mary became pregnant with Jesus. Imagine coming home to find out your wife is pregnant and you are not the father. It is interesting to see what actions follow.

In Matthew 1:19 we read, “And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly.” Divorce is a difficult subject to discuss, so often we avoid this topic. Since I am a single male, I should not be the one to talk about divorce and the difficulties of marriage, but I was around for my parents’ divorce and remarriage. Sadly, I do know a thing or two about divorce. Joseph is a world changer for multiple reasons. Could you imagine how different things would be if Joseph did not listen to the angel of the Lord? The childhood of Jesus would be very different if He had to spend one week with Mary and one week with Joseph. As someone who lived a year in a divorce environment, I had the opportunity to learn just how difficult it can be for a child in this situation.

We all know what the Bible says about divorce, and if for some reason you do not I will leave a couple of verses for you to read.

Mark 10:2-9 says, “And Pharisees came up and in order to test him asked, ‘Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?’ He answered them, ‘What did Moses command you?’ They said, ‘Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of divorce and to send her away.’ And Jesus said to them, ‘Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.’”

If Joseph had ignored the angel, he would have changed the world in a negative way. Instead, he fought the fight of marriage. Divorce is a straightforward way to resolve an issue in a marriage, but it creates problems, too. Sure, for the next couple of years things may be difficult. However, in the end, things get easier. The difficult path is to fight for your marriage even when things get tough and even when things happen that are unexplainable. Marriage is an oath to not only your spouse but to the Lord. If Joseph can make a marriage work, even after his wife gets unexplainably pregnant, then we have very little excuse to go through a divorce. By choosing divorce, we become negative world changers.

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