This might sound totally ignorant, but I am just wondering, where did Joseph go? It seems to me that at some point, Joseph just disappears from Jesus and Mary’s life, and I was just wondering what that means… What’s up? What kind of man and father was he? Am I missing something?
You are not missing anything. In fact, “what happened to Joseph?” is a question people have asked for centuries. The last appearance of Joseph in the Bible is in Luke chapter 2 when Joseph, Mary and twelve year old Jesus are on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.
There are appearances by Jesus’s mother and brothers after Jesus began his public ministry (Matthew 12:46, Mark 3:31), but absolutely no mention of Joseph. The dominant theory is that Joseph passed sometime between Jesus being 12 and 30.
The vast majority of what we know about Joseph comes from the Christmas story. He was engaged to Mary, and learned she was pregnant. Matthew 1:19 says “Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.” Joseph could have had Mary ruined for being pregnant out of wedlock, by someone other than her fiancee, but he planned to be graceful.
After this the angel of the Lord appears to Joseph in a dream and tells him to marry Mary because her child is of divine conception. Joseph does. He makes it through the birth, then through fleeing to Egypt to protect his son from Herod. From then, it is assumed he lived life as a young carpenter with a wife and children.
Joseph’s life definitely has something to teach us about listening to God and being a faithful and responsible man of God. Joseph’s death has something to tell us about the humanity of Jesus.
For at least a portion of His life, maybe the majority of it, Jesus didn’t have an earthly father. A lot of people reading this know the pain that comes with that, and the pain that comes with losing a loved one. Jesus understands how you feel. Not as an intellectual exercise, from a distance, but on a gut level. He may have had to hold HIs mother’s hand at His father’s funeral.
Jesus understands our loss and pains because He has been there. He didn’t just come to Earth to dip a toe in the water of humanity. He was down in the mortal muck where we live. He knows what it for your Heavenly father to be the only father you have. He understands.
-Matt from The Bridge