Not many Sunday School flannel graphs are dedicated to the importance of Joseph's role in Jesus's life. I think that is my excuse for not realy thinking very much about it before now.
So, I'm still reading Adopted for Life by Dr. Moore and chapter 3 (slow reader) has the best title: Joseph of Nazareth vs. Planned Parenthood. As I thought about it, it's mainly the focus of the worldview that differentiates these two. One has God in the sights, the other has man. One has obedience and the other has convenience. What really had the biggest impact on me from this chapter is how much Joseph's simple obedience, by God's grace, accomplished.
Moore said, "When Mary tells Joseph she is pregnant, his first reaction isn't a cheery 'It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas'" After I stopped laughing, reread Matthew 1, and thought through it. It's pretty amazing what happened.
No, he wasn't singing Christmas carols, he sought to divorce her. Until God came to him and explained his plan. Did He explain it all at that point in time? Nope. Just what he needed for that time. He didnt explain that eventually in a couple months or so, you'll need to take a small self-guided, self-funded tour of Egypt. That bit Joseph got when he needed it. But in the mean time, Jesus's adopted dad was acting in obedience to his heavenly Dad.
What did Joseph accomplish? The obvious is that he protected the Christ, God in human flesh, from being killed. He fulfilled Hosea's prophesy: Out of Egypt I called my son. (Hosea 11) Lastly, and the one that I like the most: In adopting Jesus, Joseph fulfilled aother major prophesy about the Christ; namely that he would be a decedent of David (Isaiah 16). You may agree pretty quickly as I did, but as I thought about it - well, Joseph wasn't his bological father... Wait a minute. The Scriptures are putting adoption on the same level as biological conception for purposes of inheritance and belonging. Kinda squashes the 'Which of the kids are yours' question like hammer on a cicada shell. I've always wanted to do that.
The more I thought about this, the more I recognized this language. When we as Christans place our faith in what Christ has done for us, we are adopted into God's family and a fellow heirs with Christ (Galatians 3:29, Romans 8:16-17).
Joseph modeled obedience and in doing so he played a major role in the history of the redemption of God's children. Did he know that he was fulfilling so many prophecies, or realize the impact of his actions on me and the world? I doubt it. Nobody's writing songs about him. No best sellers. No 'Hail Josephs'. Only cameos in nativity scences for the father, the chosen father of the Savior of the world. Have I mentioned he's underrated?