The frightening news of the Magi that Herod was aware of the Baby coupled with a warning from an angel caused Joseph to go into a full defensive mode. Although Herod had a sophisticated espionage network and wasted no time in slaughtering the children around Bethlehem, Joseph cleverly tiptoed his wife and the Babe out of Israel under Herod’s nose where they survived as immigrants in a foreign land.

 

Like Stepfather, like Son of God?
When Herod Antipas took over the Galilee, scholars speculate that Joseph and his young carpenter’s apprentice, Jesus, likely found work in the rebuilding of Sepphoris, an hour’s walk from Nazareth. Perhaps it was somewhere on their commutes to and fro across the valley that stepfather and step-Son discussed the divine mystery surrounding His birth. Perhaps it was when Joseph taught Jesus to make oxen yokes easy so burdens were light (Matthew 11:30).  Or how the stone that the builders reject can become the chief capstone (Mark 12:10). Somewhere the hardworking, blue-collar stepfather, handpicked by God to foster the King of kings, helped the boy Jesus understand His complicated identity.

 

The influence of a godly father simply cannot be underestimated. For when Jesus was 12 and stayed behind in the temple, Mary questioned why He would do such a thing to them. “I must be about my Father’s business,” Jesus replied. At that moment, there was likely no one who was prouder of Jesus than Joseph. And Joseph knew he had done his job as an earthly father.

 

Joseph understood what every father needs to know: Children get their first picture of God from their dad; and fathers on earth stand in for God in heaven.


Rebekah Montgomery is the editor of Right to the Heart of Women e-zine, a publisher at Jubilant Press, and the author of numerous books on spiritual growth. She can be contacted for comments or speaking engagements at rebekahmontgomery.com