J is for Joseph
But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” Matt. 1:20-21
We often spend time remembering Mary, the mother of Jesus, more often than we remember her husband Joseph. That makes sense for the reason that Joseph wasn’t really Jesus’ father, more specifically he was his step-father, if that’s what you want to call him. He was the odd man out.
But Scripture doesn’t leave Joseph out of the picture. Matthew spends eight verses focusing on the “father” of Jesus, Joseph, and the visit of the angel to Joseph. In fact, if you read the verse above, you will see that Joseph is given a very specific task by the angel. She [Mary] will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins. The pronoun “you” is a singular pronoun. The angel is not saying, Joseph you and Mary will name the son, but rather, Joseph, you shall name him Jesus. Mary bears the son, but Joseph is to name the son.
Naming is a high and holy privilege. Naming is a sign of authority. Think about the companies that have paid millions of dollars to have the authority to name places like Arco Arena and AT&T Park. Names are important. Adam alone, in the garden, was given the privilege of naming all the animals and naming Eve. Joseph is here given that same kind of privilege. So when you think of Joseph this Christmas, don’t think of him as a man who played second fiddle and was out of place in the whole picture. Remember that Joseph, a just man, was called by God to name our Savior Jesus.