King Joseph, the Carpenter
I started to cry last week. Out of nowhere tears began welling up.
No one was hurt. There wasn’t a loss of any sort that pushed me to despair. It may sound absurd but it was actually the genealogy of Jesus found in the book of Matthew that got me (Matt. 1).
Now you may be thinking, “He cried while reading this?”
15 Eliud was the father of Eleazar, Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob. 16 Jacob was the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, by whom Jesus was born, who is called the Messiah.
Yes, I cried reading Jesus’ family tree.
Matthew lists Jesus’ “genesis” beginning with Abraham and then continues to King David. God made significant covenants with both of these ancestors of Jesus. Matthew wants people to know that Jesus fulfills those covenants. With King David in particular, I remember reading that God promised He would forever have a descendent sitting on the throne (2 Sam. 7). Matthew shows us that Jesus is that descendent. Joseph, an ancestor of King David, married Mary who gave birth to Jesus. In other words, Joseph is the father of Jesus.
Now you may be thinking, “He cried reading Joseph adopted Jesus?” No. I did not cry thinking about Jesus being adopted by Joseph–though we do need to sit in the weight of that reality.
Matthew’s list, after King Jeconiah, no longer includes the names of kings. Jeconiah would not have the privilege of his heirs being on the throne (Jer. 22). The men included toward the end of Matthew’s list were individuals who could have been king if not for the sin of their fathers. These men could have held the throne ruling over a great kingdom. But the kingdom fell apart.
These men were reduced in rank from king, to governor, to unidentifiable.
Joseph is so far removed from the throne that he and Mary brought a mere two small birds as their offering to the LORD (Luke 4). This type of offering is an indication that Joseph’s family lacked significant means (Lev. 12). Joseph, who quite possibly could have been king, was instead a carpenter. By the providence of God, he didn’t live in a palace like David once had. Instead he is found outside the city living a modest yet respectable life.
It was this last thought that brought tears to my eyes.
God withheld the throne from Joseph and gave him the King instead. He got something far greater than the throne. He got the King in the cradle. Joseph was a holy man with a young wife and new son. He wasn’t charged with ruling the Kingdom but rather with raising the King.