We know the story of Jesus’ birth. An angel named Gabriel came to Mary and told her that she would become pregnant by the Holy Spirit and that her Son would be the Son of God. She was betrothed to Joseph, a carpenter, but he didn’t find out about the Son until she was about three months along. There are only a few lines in the gospels which speak of his involvement and after Jesus’ twelfth birthday we never read about him at all. So what happened?
Joseph and Mary were betrothed before the angel told Mary that she would be the mother of the Son of the Most High. Betrothal in those days was a time of preparation for a couple to be married about a year later. There was no intimacy during this period and no seeing each other without supervision, but it was considered a time of matrimony without the ceremony which made them a legal couple.
When Mary heard that her cousin, Elizabeth, was having a child in her old age she had to go and see for herself. She heard this news through the angel which had told her that she would bear a Son by the Holy Spirit. Elizabeth was in her sixth month with her child and Mary went and stayed with her until almost the day the child was born. The Bible says about three months. When she returned to the town where Joseph and her family lived she was three months along in her pregnancy so it couldn’t be hidden at that point.
The scriptures say that Joseph was a righteous man in the sight of God so he knew that something had happened while they were apart, he just didn’t how or by who. Even though the Law required him to have Mary stoned, he couldn’t because he loved her. While he was thinking of quietly ending the betrothal an angel appeared to him in a dream and told him what had happened and that the Son would be given the throne of David one day. Joseph was every bit the man, husband and carpenter that God knew him to be which is why he was given the awesome job and responsibility to raise the Son of God.
Imagine the honor and privilege of being the Dad who was chosen to raise the Son of God? You couldn’t think about it too much because it would overwhelm you. What can you teach Him? Everything about being a man and a child on Earth is what you would have to do. Model the behavior that He would need to have in order to be your Son and God’s Son. How would you do such a thing? Live out the Law in front of Him and teach Him just as you would your own son, that’s how. Granted, you would probably be a little bit more concerned with what you were teaching Him since His Father is God and it would take a lot of soul searching and prayer to get it right, but God chose Joseph because He knew that he could do it.