Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:
“Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall name him Emmanuel,”
which means, “God is with us.” When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife, but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son; and he named him Jesus. ~ Matthew 1:18-25
I have a fondness for adopted fathers. My dad adopted me when I was five and he married my mom.
I always appreciated what it might have cost him. He was a young guy still when he adopted me as his own. Not even 30. He could have done a whole lot of other things beside adopt the five-year-old daughter of the young woman he married.
He could have done a whole lot of other things then give her his name. He could easily have put that adopted daughter into the backseat when his full flesh and blood son was born a few years later.
But he did give me his name. And he didn't put me into the backseat when my brother was born. I was never anything other than his child, through good times and bad.
For Joseph how much harder it must have been. We get very little about him other than these verses from Matthew. It is almost as if Joseph willingly put himself himself into the background.
But not completely. We know that as humble as he may have been, he did the job he was given.
He also gave his adopted son his name. While we might know him as Jesus Christ, in Hebrew his name would have been Yeshua ben Yoseph: Jesus, son of Joseph.
Holy God, move me toward justice, mercy, and humility in all my dealings with your people. Amen