What Happened To Joseph, Father of Jesus?

What Happened To Joseph, Father of Jesus?

Where the heck is Joseph?
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Recently, I read all four gospels in their entirety; that is, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. According to certain translations, that's roughly 84,000 words. And you know what struck me? Well, many things actually, like

Why don't I do this more often?

I actually like reading the Bible.

Wow, I had no idea Jesus said that.

Wait, what?

That last one happened uncomfortably often, and I had to pose questions to facets of my faith I had never thought about before. Strangely though, out of the thousands of topics I could go into based on Jesus' life, death, resurrection, ascension, miracles, teachings, worldview, identity, disciples, etc., the thing that stuck out to me maybe more than it should have was actually something that wasn't mentioned.

Where the heck is Joseph?

You know, the guy who was doing just fine in life until he thought his bride was fooling around (I mean, who wouldn't? Unless of course you were told in a vision that what really happened was the Holy Spirit did some unexplainable, fancy shmancy "I'm God; I do what I want" stuff inside Mary's virgin womb... oh, wait...). Literally all we know about this guy is that he was a descendant of David and the royal line, he was engaged to and eventually married Mary, he didn't have sex with her until after Jesus was born, he was a righteous and gracious man, he followed Jewish customs, he probably wasn't too overbearing (he did lose the Son of God for a good three days), and he listened to angels when they show up in dreams. That's it. The earthly father of the most important man to ever walk the face of the earth is virtually an extra in the movie of Jesus' life.

But, why?

Turns out there a few theories. I did some digging, and Josephology is a real theological study sating back as far as AD 800 and growing in the Catholic tradition especially in the 16th century. It is pretty common scholarly thought that Joseph was a good bit older than Mary, and that he died before Jesus' ministry began. He isn't mentioned to be present with Mary and Jesus at the wedding in Cana, where Jesus' first sign of changing water into wine takes place. He definitely isn't around at Jesus' death, where Jesus bonds his disciple John to his mother, Mary, so that she will be taken care of. Furthermore, Jesus' body after death is taken charge of by Joseph of Arimathea, a role his father would have taken on had he been alive. Many think that when Jesus' dedication takes place in Luke 2, Joseph's death before Jesus' rise as a rabbi is foreshadowed when Simeon tells Mary she will live to be touched by Jesus' ministry.

I have heard some thought processes of Joseph potentially being ashamed of Jesus' abandonment of his family, trade, and home. Many thought that Jesus was a blasphemous radical; that certainly wouldn't have been a reputation you would want to know your son by. But I don't find this convincing given the circumstances of Jesus' birth, his claim of authority as early as age twelve, and his dedication at the temple. Furthermore, knowing that Joseph is regarded by God to be a righteous man (at least enough that he gets to father the Savior of the world, no pressure), he would have no standing to leave his family.

Based on this evidence, I find the straightforward, surface level reading of the text to indicate that Joseph died an uneventful death of old age prior to Jesus' ministry beginning. Looking deeper though, I think even God's providence was at work here. Joseph's absence leaves no room to question who Jesus' Father is. This makes the Gospel of John even more astonishing to read, as Jesus knows the Father, is in the Father, and is worked through by the Father, even as the Father. This has deep theological implications for our faith on multiple levels, and I regard that as a very good thing.

Cover Image Credit: Childhood of Christ

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The Husband I'm Praying For

My future husband should be a mirror of the Lord.
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Growing up, we have all probably wondered about the man we will marry - what he looks like, what his voice sounds like, what color his eyes are etc. We have all watched Disney's fairy tale movies like "Cinderella," "The Little Mermaid" and "Sleeping Beauty." The love stories that Disney creates can be merely fiction. Knowing this leads many people to believe that kind of love does not exist. As a kid, I always wanted to be Ariel and find my Prince Eric. The older I got, I realized that that kind of man does not exist without God. The Disney love story only exists through God. God writes a love story that we can not imagine. That is why we should be confident in His will for our lives. We should be confident in the love story God is writing for us.

I woke up this morning thinking about relationships and how hard it is to be in one at the age of 20. I'm not looking for a husband or a significant other right now, but I am praying for that special someone that God has planned for my life. Whether God places this special man in my life next week or in 20 years, I am going to be praying for him. I pray for the man that seeks God and His guidance. I just can't imagine being with someone who doesn't love God as much as I do. Honestly, I've decided that from this point on, I am going to let God guide my footsteps. I refuse to worry about all that is wrong with me when I should just be praying for the man God has in store for me.

Girls my age have been blinded to what a good boyfriend is and what a potential husband really looks like. I pray for the man who prays before each meal and thanks God for his simple blessings. I don't want to end up settling for less-I know what I deserve and I know that God has a plan. The husband I pray for is the man I want my daughters looking up to and being proud to have as a father. I want my children to know that their father loves Jesus and is not ashamed of it. A man who is ashamed of Jesus or only loves Jesus on Sundays is not husband material. I want my husband to be the man people associate Jesus with.

I pray that my husband is humble. I pray that my husband makes strangers feel his loving presence and know that Jesus is present in his life. I pray that my husband wants the same things I do, like 15 children-- just kidding. But, I do pray that he has a sense of humor and that he understands my need for laughter and sunshine in my life. I pray that my husband seeks Jesus during hard times and understands when the answer to his prayers are no. I hope my husband understands that no matter what, God has a plan and an answer, even if it isn't what he wants. I want my husband to be understanding of my needs and what I want out of life. I want my husband to encourage me and my decisions. I want my husband to be the man that my children know is praying for them. I want my husband to be the man who cries the first time he sees me in my wedding dress walking down the aisle. I want my husband to be the man our kids can run to at 3:00 A.M because they had a bad dream and need him to hold them. I want my husband to have a loving and sincere heart. I pray that the man I am going to marry is praying for me, just like I'm praying for him.


Cover Image Credit: Alec Vanderboom

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What Catholic High School Taught Me

In today's society, there can be a lot of controversy surrounding the Catholic Church and Catholic education.

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When you hear the word Catholic you might think of several different things. Maybe you think of a cult or extremist group, or maybe you think it's just a mass service to go to on the weekends. This is similar to what I felt before receiving a Catholic education.

I was born into a Catholic family and raised going to Church most Sundays and attending all of the big masses like Christmas and Easter and I even attended Sunday school. As I grew older, I became bored with this. I stopped attending masses, I finished Sunday school, and I would put up a fight with my mom for even Christmas mass. This didn't seem weird for me though because at the time, none of my friends were religious either. I went on through the rest of middle school and my freshman year of high school without being very religious at all. Then going into my sophomore year, I transferred schools.

I was overwhelmed with this news. All I could think of was going to a school with a bunch of "Jesus freaks" and being completely ostracized because I wouldn't be able to fit in with them. I begged my parents to not move me but it was hopeless. Next thing I knew I was putting on the plaid skirt and polo and headed to my orientation.

I'm not going to lie, being a transfer to this school was awful. Everything g was different. We prayed in the morning, before every class, and after lunch. We have mass every month and a mandatory theology class. The first semester of my sophomore year felt like forever. I never really started to open up about my faith until my junior year when I went on a school trip to D.C to participate in the March For Life.

During this trip, we went to a mass where hundreds of priests and nuns were there and all of a sudden I began to cry in the mass. I didn't know why I was crying and I was trying to hide it but I couldn't. I turned to my best friend saying "why am I crying right now, I don't know why I'm crying." She said to me that I was finally open to Gods love and it was a sensation I couldn't describe. After this trip, I participated more in school mass and prayer and participated in retreats throughout the year.


Maris Ackerman

After this spiritual awakening, I found a new love for myself and for the people around me. Throughout my life I was struggling with self-esteem issues and not being able to love myself in the way I should be. A retreat called Kairos opened my heart even more to Gods love and the love of others.

On my Kairos retreat, I went in not wanting to participate and wanting to remain closed off to other people. I am a person who feels like I don't have to justify myself to others for the way I am or what I believe. After some encouragement, I opened up and saw the love God had for me and the love God had for others around me. I will forever have a connection with these people as some of my best friends.

Maris Ackerman

In conclusion, Catholic high school did a lot for me. It allowed me to explore a faith I was introduced to, it gave me some of the most genuine friends I could ever ask for, it gave me self-esteem again and gave my life importance again. But most importantly, it allowed me to see how loved I am in Gods eyes. That no matter what I could ever do wrong, God always forgave me. For an insecure high schooler, this is the best news I could have received.

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