Father's Day - Joseph As An Example

Sun, Jun 19, 2022
Teacher: Mark Hull
Duration:24 mins 52 secs

Message text

Father’s Day – Joseph As An Example
Matthew 1:18-25

Someone noticed that the word "father" appears in the dictionary ... just before the word ... "fatigued" ...and just after the word ... "fathead."
So, ... to all us fatigued, ... fathead fathers, ......Happy Father's Day!
One night a wife found her husband standing over their newborn baby’s crib. Silently she watched him. As he stood looking down at the sleeping infant, she saw on his face a mixture of emotions: disbelief, doubt, delight, amazement, enchantment, skepticism. He would stand back, shake his head and say, "Amazing," while smiling from ear to ear.
Touched by his unusual display and the deep emotions it aroused, her eyes glistened as she slipped her arms around him. "A penny for your thoughts," she whispered in his ear.
"Isn’t it amazing!" he replied. "When you take the time and really look close, how can anyone make a crib like that for only $95.99!"

ILL.- Someone wrote a list of words that most dads have said at some time or another to their children.
- This is going to hurt me more than it hurts you.
- Quiet. I’m watching the ball game.
- Bring back all the change.
- How should I know? Ask your mother.
- I’m not made out of money!
- When I was your age I walked 5 miles to and from school each day and it was uphill both ways.
- You are going and you will have fun!
- If you break your leg don’t come running to me.
- Get down before you hurt yourself. On second thought, go ahead.
- Be quiet! Can’t you see I’m trying to think!
- Why? Because I said so!
- You better get that junk picked up before your mother comes in here.
- Just wait till you have kids of your own.
- I was not asleep. I was just resting my eyes.
Brethren, I suppose we who are fathers could probably add a couple of quotes to this list.
Being a parent and a father can be an interesting and trying experience.

Today is known as Father's Day, & the honor of this special day began back in 1910 in Spokane, WA. Necktie & shirt manufacturers have rejoiced ever since.
ILL. Then a few years later, a group in Wilkinsburg, PA, declared the dandelion the official Father's Day flower because, they said, "The more it is trampled on, the better it grows."
ILL. Something that Erma Bombeck wrote seems to express the sentiments of Father's Day better than most. Here is an excerpt:
"When I was a little girl, a father was like the light in the refrigerator every house had one, but no one really knew what either one of them did once the door was shut.
"My dad left the house every morning & always seemed glad to see everyone again at night. He opened the jar of pickles when no one else could. He was the only one in the house who wasn't afraid to go into the basement alone.
"He kept busy enough. He set mousetraps. He oiled my roller skates & they went faster. When I got my bike he ran along side me for at least a thousand miles until I got the hang of it. He signed all my report cards. He took a lot of pictures, but was never in them.
"I was afraid of everyone else's father, but not my own. Once I made him some tea. It was only sugar water, but he sat in a small chair & said that it was delicious. He looked very uncomfortable.
"Whenever I played house the mother doll had a lot to do. But I never knew what to do with the father doll, so I had him say, 'I'm going off to work now,' & threw him under the bed.
Today we are taking the father doll out from under the bed, & honoring the dandelions & refrigerator lights of society.
PROP. And in doing that, we want to talk about a step-dad who was given the tremendous responsibility of raising God's Son. His name was Joseph, the husband of Mary, the mother of Jesus.
So go with me back in time as we consider his commitment, his concern, & his faithfulness.
Text  Matthew 1: 18 – 25
18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. 20 But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.”
22 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”
24 Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, 25 and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name JESUS.

The first part of Joseph's story is one of commitment & happy expectations. Matthew 1:18 begins with these words, "Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. . . ."

A. Now we need to understand that a Jewish marriage consisted of 3 stages. The first stage is the engagement. Usually that was arranged by their parents. Parents would arrange the engagement without the young people even being involved.
ILL. One example of that in the O.T. was when Abraham sent his servant back to his home country to find a wife for his son, Isaac. The servant found Rebekah & brought her back. Isaac had never seen her before. Then she became his wife.

B. The second stage of a Jewish marriage was the betrothal. During this time the young couple agreed to the marriage, the groom signed a document declaring his responsibilities to her, & they were considered "husband & wife." But they didn't live together yet.
Betrothal usually lasted about one year. It was a time for the groom to prepare the place where they would live. It was a time of building a relationship, of coming to know one another, of planning & dreaming & happy expectations.
However, all of this suddenly ended in shock & disappointment for Joseph for vs. 18 goes on to say, "But before they came together, she was found to be with child..."
The Bible doesn't tell us when Joseph was told, or who told him. Maybe Mary told him. Maybe she said something like, "Joseph, I have the most wonderful news. I'm going to have a baby, & not just any baby. This is the Messiah, the one our people have been waiting for & praying about for so many years. An angel told me."
"I asked the angel, ‘How can this possibly be because I have never slept with a man?’ The angel told me, ‘That which is conceived in you is of the Holy Spirit.’ "It's a miracle, Joseph. Isn't it wonderful? Aren't you happy?"
But Joseph wasn't happy. How could he believe such a story? And Joseph must have felt that Mary had betrayed him. But notice, even in this stage of his disappointment, Joseph still loved Mary.
Matthew 1:19 says, "Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly."
The law said that Joseph could have taken her to the city gate & the people there would have taken rocks & stoned her to death. Then Joseph's name would have been cleansed & his reputation restored.
But Joseph decided not to do that. He decided not to disgrace her, but rather to divorce her quietly so that she could start her life over again. And he could start his life over again as well.
That is when the angel appeared to him in a dream, telling Joseph what had happened that the Holy Spirit had caused Mary to conceive a child that would be God's only Son. And God had a request of Joseph. Would Joseph be a father a step-dad? Would Joseph raise God's Son?
Joseph had to decide. He had to make a commitment about a child who didn't belong to him. He had to make a commitment to a marriage that would be held up to scorn & gossip. But Joseph said that he would. So Joseph took Mary to be his wife.
ILL. Barbara Herrenrich wrote a book in which she said, "Yesterday's man was a husband & a father & the family breadwinner. Today's man is a conspicuous consumer & is proficient at dodging commitment."

C. But Joseph didn't dodge his commitment. He accepted the responsibility that God asked him to take. It was Joseph who put his wife on the donkey & began the long trip to Bethlehem. It was Joseph who found a place in which Mary could give birth.
It was Joseph who helped her through birth. It was Joseph who first saw the Son of God, & then held in his hands God's only Son.
Joseph had made a commitment. But he didn't realize what all that commitment entailed. He didn't realize that he would have to serve as a midwife, to help deliver God's only Son.
But he had promised. He didn't dodge his commitment. He kept his word.
APPL. Every so often we have the privilege of seeing parents and their family attend services at our congregation. We challenge them to be faithful Christian parents & examples to their family.
We pray for them, asking God to help them raise their children in the love & nurture of the Lord. We do this because we are concerned about them & their family.


A. Joseph was also concerned. He was used to living in Nazareth, but now he was in Bethlehem. Somehow he had to support his wife & child.
So here was Joseph in Bethlehem trying to get carpentry work, concerned about being able to provide for God's Son & to take care of Him.
Jesus was less than two years old when wise men from the east came & brought exotic gifts. Then Joseph is warned to flee from Herod's murderous intent to kill Jesus. So Joseph uproots his family & flees to Egypt. Later, he uproots them again & takes them to Nazareth.

B. As you know, Mary & Joseph had several children after that. And every year, along with many others from Nazareth, they would take their family to Jerusalem for the Passover Feast.
So we can understand what happened when Jesus was twelve. They worshiped in Jerusalem as they always did, & then began their journey home once again. That evening, as all of those who were traveling together stopped to rest for the night, Joseph may have asked Mary, "Where is Jesus?"
Mary answers, "I thought He was with you." "No," Joseph says, "He isn't with me. Where is He?" They frantically searched through the whole company, but Jesus was nowhere to be found.

C. They rushed back to Jerusalem & began looking up & down the streets. But they can't find him anywhere. Finally, they go to the temple & they notice a meeting taking place. Sadducees & Pharisees are sitting around nodding their bearded heads & looking intently at the speaker.
And who is the speaker? Jesus, a 12 year old boy. "And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing. (Luke 2:48)
And Jesus says something that Joseph would never forget, How is it that ye sought me? Did you not know that I must be about my Father's business?" (Luke 2:49)
SUM. Joseph realized that Jesus had just one mother, but two fathers. And it was Joseph's responsibility to turn loose of Him & let Jesus be about what God had sent Him to do. God had given him Jesus on loan. He was a steward, a manager, to help Jesus develop & grow.


A. So Joseph probably made some decisions on that long road back to Nazareth. He would do the very best he could to help Jesus be about His Father's business to help Jesus be the person God wanted Him to be.
But Joseph's problem was that he was just a carpenter. "Tekton" is the Greek word that is used, a "carpenter."
ILL. It is said that in ancient days a "tekton" was a man who probably had just two chisels, a hammer, a saw, & a square. But with just those few tools he could make a chair or a table, a bridge or a house.
He wasn't just a workman, he was a craftsman, a carpenter.
It is obvious that Joseph had an impact on Jesus. In Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, He talked about a fellow who had some sawdust in his eye. He talked about two men, two carpenters, who built houses. One was wise & one foolish.
Toward the end of Jesus' ministry, when He was trying to communicate to the disciples the importance of finishing what you start, He told of a man who wanted to build a tower, but who first went out & got all of the materials to make sure he could finish what he started.

B. Joseph didn't teach Jesus about nobility. He didn't teach Him about speech making. But by his example he taught Him to "finish what you start," & how to handle disgruntled customers.
He taught Him to pay His bills. He taught Him to treat His mother with respect. He taught Him to take care of His younger brothers & sisters.
Joseph didn't know that sometime before the beginning of Jesus' ministry that God would call him home & leave his family fatherless. And that the boy he trained, the boy he worked with, sawed lumber with, chiseled wood with, would take his place & become a leader to His younger brothers & sisters.
Joseph had no idea that the work that God had called His Son to do was the work of a carpenter & that when Jesus was 33 years old He would construct a bridge that would span eternity.
Joseph had no idea that one day a carpenter's product, a wooden cross, would be the greatest monument that this world has ever known.
All Joseph did was to be a step-dad to Jesus. All Joseph did was to keep the commitment he'd made to God. All Joseph did was to take a few tools & help mold Jesus, the Son of God.
ILL. I came across an interesting poem this last week. It is titled: "A Father’s Love" Please listen as I read it to you.
We hear about a mother’s love
In story & in song,
How staunch it is through trial & storm,
How tender & strong,
How sweet and pure & beautiful;
And every word is true.
But what about a father’s love?
That claims some notice, too.
A father delves the deepest mine
And climbs the girders high
He swings upon the scaffolding
Between the earth & sky.
It’s father who bends his aching back
And bows his graying head
To bear the burdens of the day
And earn the children’s bread.
For both must work & both must plant
And do an equal share
To rear the little ones the Lord
Has entrusted to their care.
All honor to the mother’s love;
The universe it fills.
But when you praise it, don’t forget
That father pays the bills.

CONCLUSION: So to all of you dandelions, to all of you refrigerator lights, to all of you father dolls that have been thrown under the bed, this is your day.
You might feel inadequate for the task that God has called you to do. But just like Joseph you must make a commitment. Like Joseph you must be concerned, not just for the physical well-being of your family, but for their spiritual well-being too.
And you must understand that you are a steward, a manager, & God has given you just a little while with your children. You must devote yourself to do your best in the job that God has called you to do.

This morning there may be some of you who have never known God as your Father, & have never known that God has the same commitment & concern for you that Joseph had for Jesus.
Regardless of whether you are a father or a mother, or whoever you are, we ask you to make a decision this morning, to make a commitment, to give your heart & life & soul to the King of Kings & the Lord of Lords. We invite you to make your life count for Him. You have the opportunity to do that as we stand & sing?



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