Bible Society of South Africa

New Beginnings: Joseph was not a nobody – 10 December 2021

By Louise Gevers

Bible text(s)

(Lk 3.23–38)

1This is the list of the ancestors of Jesus Christ, a descendant of David, who was a descendant of Abraham.

Lk 2.1–7

Matthew 1:1GNBOpen in Bible reader

I always loved teaching the Family Tree to my French classes. The students found the concept of ancestry fascinating and learned eagerly when they saw how they fitted into their own, gaining a better sense of their identity through it.

The genealogies that the Bible contains do the same. Carefully recorded, they give context and relevance to the lives of the people contained in them, whether well-known or unfamiliar. Who we are and where we belong is important to our sense of self, but it’s even more important to God, because each person is part of His plan.

Joseph is thought to have been a humble, quiet man who taught Jesus his carpentry trade. After the incident where he and Mary had gone back to look for Jesus, left behind in Jerusalem, Joseph was never mentioned again, the view being that he may have died, before Jesus started His ministry.

Joseph appears almost overlooked in his role as Jesus’ earthly father in the words, “and Joseph, who married Mary, the mother of Jesus” yet he was a very significant player in God’s eyes. Joseph was vital to Mary and Jesus’ lives, especially in the escape to Egypt, but his status as David’s descendent paved the way for Jesus to be recognized as the Messiah.

Joseph’s heritage validated the prophecy that the Messiah would be of David’s royal line which Jesus would fulfil. “He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness …” (Isaiah 9:7, Read: Jeremiah 33:14-15)

Joseph’s caring actions towards Mary, when he clearly wanted to protect her from all the possible consequences her “infidelity” could cause her under the Mosaic Law (Read: Deuteronomy 22:13-21), demonstrated his integrity. “He decided not to marry Mary, but he did not tell this to anyone. He did not want people to say bad things about Mary.” (Matthew 1:19 EBD)

God chose Joseph as carefully as He did Mary. Together, they formed the dynamic duo of parenting that God required for His Son at that crucial time in history. How would the Messiah champion justice and righteousness if He did not learn these qualities primarily from his father, Joseph, who honoured God’s call with his reputation as “a good man who always did what was right.” (Matthew 1:19 EBD)

We may have times of feeling insignificant, wondering if God has a plan for our life. Regardless of who we are and where we come from, we are important to God wherever we may be. In Christ we are part of God’s family, valuable in His sight, with an inheritance to delight in.

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” (1 Peter 2:9 NIV)

Prayer: Father, thank you that we are precious to You and important for your plan for the world. Help me to serve You where I am and to honour You in all I do. Amen.

Bible Society of South Africav.4.14.1
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