Joseph was the great, great, great... grandson of David. Unlike his royal forefather, Joseph didn’t live in a palace. He was just a poor carpenter who had probably grown up in the home of another poor carpenter.
In the modest workshop, located on a side-street on the outskirts of Nazareth, they built rudimentary furniture, or maybe they constructed small ox-carts. Regardless, they eked out a living and earned their calluses by hard work and long hours.
As a child, Joseph had attended the synagogue school and learned Hebrew history, the law, the prophets, and wisdom literature. Joseph knew his heredity, from the tribe of Judah and the line of David. He also knew the promise of the Messiah, the Christ, the coming King. It had been four-hundred-years since the last of the prophets had spoken, and Joseph’s generation was growing weary of Roman rule and impatient with God’s silence.
Good fortune came his way when his dad and Mary’s dad shook hands and agreed to the marriage of their kids. Joseph was older than Mary, possibly twenty, give or take. Mary was a very sweet little girl, let’s say thirteen... just a guess, but in first-century Jewish culture, that was common.
Can you imagine the whispered conversation that occurred during their required year-long engagement? Mary tried to explain her predicament... “I’m pregnant, but I haven’t... an angel said... Honestly, I haven’t... ”
Heart-sick, irritated, humiliated, Joseph, “not wanting to disgrace her publicly, decided to divorce her secretly” (Matthew 1:19, CSB). He loved her and refused to hurt her. But his good name was being dishonored...
Sleep was hard-fought the night “an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because what has been conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins’ ” (Matthew 1:18–21, CSB).
Though it was biologically impossible, Joseph trusted the heaven-sent messenger. Joseph believed. As he put the puzzle pieces together in his mind, he considered that the Davidic Covenant was being fulfilled in his home. God had promised Joseph’s great, great, great... grandfather, “The Lord himself will make a house for you. When your time comes and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up after you your descendant, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever” (2 Samuel 7:11–13, CSB).
Joseph remembered Isaiah’s inspired declarations. “The Lord himself will give you a sign: See, the virgin will conceive, have a son, and name him Immanuel Isaiah” (Isaiah 7:14, CSB) and “to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore” (Isaiah 9:6–7, ESV).
It was hard to fathom. Mary was the foreseen virgin. The child would be Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace... Immanuel (God with us)... Jesus. Oh my! It was so much to comprehend.
Joseph, a simple tradesman, accepted his assignment as adoptive daddy to God’s Son. A few months later, on a dark night in his ancestorial city, Joseph cradled the new-born in his arms and whispered... “Jesus. Save us from our sin.”