Joseph Did You Know?

Why was it necessary for Jesus to have an earthly father if He didn’t need a biological father?

While Jesus was biologically Mary’s son, He was the adopted son of Joseph. Joseph was in the royal line of the Kings of Judah. After David, Joseph was in the line of Solomon. It was necessary that Jesus be adopted into the regal line so that He might have a real and legal right to the throne of David. As the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, it was necessary that one from the royal line serve as His adopted human father.

 

I recently spent some time driving around our community in order to see the way in which Joseph was portrayed in the various nativity scenes that people set up in their front yards. There was everything from cartoon bug eyed Joseph to haloed Joseph to–and this was most interesting–a nativity scene in which Joseph was noticeably absent. The reason why the latter captured my attention is because Joseph is often the most overlooked of all the figures mentioned in the Gospel records. Mary, the Angels, the shepherds, the wise men and Elizabeth all seem to get more airtime than Joseph. All of that, in turn, begs the question, “Why was it necessary for Jesus to have an earthly father if He didn’t need a biological father?” Isn’t it conceivable that Mary could have, with the help of family members, raised Jesus without a husband? It was necessary for Joseph to be Jesus’ adopted father for the following reasons:

1. To give Jesus a legal right to the divine throne. Jesus’ genealogy in Matthew 1 and that which is found in Luke 3 are different genealogies. They are the same when they move from Abraham to David; but, then they diverge. Simply explained, Matthew is giving us Joseph’s genealogy and Luke is giving us Mary’s. While Jesus was biologically Mary’s son, He was the adopted son of Joseph. Joseph was in the royal line of the Kings of Judah. After David, Joseph was in the line of Solomon. It was necessary that Jesus be adopted into the regal line so that He might have a real and legal right to the throne of David. As the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, it was necessary that one from the royal line serve as His adopted human father.

2. To help Jesus fulfill prophecy. Joseph was commanded by an Angel from God to take the baby Jesus down into Egypt and out of Egypt to fulfill prophecy (Matt. 2:15). While the immediate context reveals that it was to protect the child Savior, Matthew’s allusion to Hosea 11:1 reveals that there was a theological fulfillment purpose to what Matthew was doing. Jesus is the true Israel, who would have to go down into Egypt and come back up as a part of the work that He came to do as the covenant keeping redeemer. Jesus came to recapitulate Israel’s history.

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