​​​​God Chose a Father for His Son 
Matthew 1:18-25; 2:13-15; 2:19-23. 

Let me start out today by saying “Happy Father’s Day” to all of our Dads. One little boy, when asked to explain about Father’s Day, said, “It’s just like Mother’s Day, only you don’t spend as much on the present.”

Father’s Day never seems to be as big a deal as Mother’s Day. On Mother’s Day there is a higher attendance at church, mothers often have corsages, emotions run high, and people gather at Mom’s house, all to pay honor to the hands that rocked the cradle. 

But on Father’s Day the church is not as full, emotions are not as high, and businesses don’t profit nearly as much, all except for the telephone companies, they report that Mother’s Day is the busiest telephone day of the year. But Father’s Day is a bigger money-maker for them because there are more collect calls on Father’s Day than on any other day of the year.

The very first national celebration of Father’s Day was on June 19, 1924, by proclamation of President Calvin Coolidge. But it all came about because of the efforts of Sonora Smart Dodd.

Sonora was sitting in church in 1909 listening to a Mother’s Day sermon when the idea of Father’s Day first came to mind. Having been raised by her father after her mother’s death, Sonora wanted her father to know how special he was to her for all his parental sacrifices and for being, in her eyes, so courageous, selfless, and loving. To make a long story short, twenty-five years later, through her efforts President Coolidge designated the 3rd Sunday of June as “Father’s Day.” And our nation has been celebrating it ever since.

I’m glad there is a Father’s Day. Even though it may not be as significant or special as Mother’s Day, it still gives us a chance to honor those who stand at the helm, who gather their team in a huddle, and who lead their family through life’s battles. 

Read scripture: Matthew 1:18-25; 2:13-15; 2:19-23. 

In December 1903, after many attempts, the Wright brothers were finally successful in getting their “flying machine” off the ground. Thrilled, they telegraphed this message to their sister Kathrine: ”We have actually flown 120 feet, will be home for Christmas.” Kathrine hurried to the editor of the local newspaper and showed him the message. He glanced at it and said, “How nice, the boys will be home for Christmas.” He totally missed the big news -- after thousands of years and hundreds of attempts -- man had achieved flight.

An expert, who by virtue of his profession was undoubtedly skilled at writing and spotting news stories, missed one of the biggest ever! Perhaps it was because he wasn’t expecting it. After all, nothing significant was ever going to come from the family of the Wright brothers. Or maybe this editor was concentrating on more pressing and more impressive stories, failing to see the obvious. It happened in Herod’s day and still happens in ours! Christmas comes and Christmas goes -- Jesus will be home this Christmas. So, what’s all the fuss?

While the story of Christmas may still impress us with a fresh and still-like-the-first-time reading, how many see only a baby and somehow miss the Savior!

On the first Christmas a heaven-sent child begins to breathe for the first time. The One who flung the massive stars into space now flails his little legs. Filling those tiny lungs for the first time with dry Palestinian air, humanity gets another chance to make it.

We find ourselves asking a puzzling question: How unusual is it that the child Jesus -- who is the Son of God in the flesh -- should be called the Everlasting Father? Why is this phrased as such? The answer is found in the Jewish use of the word “Father.” The word father meant “originator” or “author.” The Christmas story is filled with the fingerprints of an Eternal Father who is at work!

But who could God trust as a father figure here on earth with the most prized possession in eternity?

So, let’s take a thoughtful look at a man, a FATHER, who is very often overlooked. In some quarters he is overshadowed by the prominence given to his wife. I’m talking about JOSEPH, the husband of Mary and the adopted father of Jesus. 

I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone else preach a sermon on Joseph. But I believe it’s a significant thing that even as God chose Mary to be the one who would give birth to the Son of God, so in His mighty providence He chose Joseph to be a FATHER figure to Jesus and to raise Him into manhood. Mary and Joseph were chosen together to be parents. 

The cast of characters associated with the story of Jesus’ birth is colorful and memorable. We often recognize them by their unique speaking parts. 

The angel Gabriel makes the unforgettable announcement to Mary regarding the birth of the Savior. They appear to Joseph to announce that the name of the child would be Jesus. 

Mary, whose divine selection humbles her, offers a beautiful hymn of praise and thankfulness Luke 1:46-48 (NKJV)
46  And Mary said: "My soul magnifies the Lord,
47  And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
48  For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed. 

The wise men are desperate in their search to find the newborn King and prepared to present Him with gifts of honor and worship. 

The shepherds became early evangelists, telling everyone what they saw and experienced about the newborn Messiah.

Oddly enough, only Joseph has no speaking part. He is the lone silent member of the cast and often forgotten. 

Angels bring heavenly greetings. Mary sings a praiseful solo. Wise men worship. Shepherds preach. Joseph is silent. 

However, as people sometimes say, actions speak louder than words! Joseph is irreplaceable in the story of Jesus’ birth and through his silent actions, Joseph teaches us valuable lessons in fatherhood. 

I remember a film that was on television several years ago. One of those depressingly sad movies that your wife forces you to sit down and watch with her as she systematically cries her way through an entire box of Kleenex, and then at the end says: “That was so sad - wasn’t it just wonderful?!” 

This particular film as I remember was entitled something like “WHO WILL LOVE MY CHILDREN?” The story tells of a poor family with a large number of children, where the woman discovers that she has an incurable illness and will die within a year. Her husband is a good man, but obviously incapable of looking after the large number of children alone. 

And so, the heartbreaking tale is of this mother who goes out searching for loving parents who will care for all of her children; she wants to have them all placed before she dies. 

As I recalled that film, it led me to thinking about the birth of Jesus. Just like that woman who loved her children so much that she wanted to personally choose parents for them, and not leave it to chance, Father God in the same way went looking for parents to raise His beloved Son. 

He searched the earth, and He found a young girl, a teenager engaged to be married, of whom the Bible says: she “found favor with God”. She was a choice young lady, a God-fearing young lady. 

But, God also went looking for a father. He called Mary and Joseph as a couple. And here is the point; God clearly demonstrates for us that the role of the father is a most important one. 

Fathers are not only needed for the physical act of conceiving a child; they are also needed for the spiritual act of raising a child. 

The child was conceived in the womb of Mary “by the Holy Ghost;” a miracle took place so there was no need for a man to be involved in the conception. But a man was still needed to fill the role of father in Jesus’ childhood. 

So, Joseph was chosen. And just as God had looked for a godly young woman to bring forth the child, so He looked for a godly man to be the father. 

And what an inspiring model of fatherhood Joseph was. Let’s look together, for a few minutes, at some things the Bible tells us about this man Joseph. 

First, would you note with me that he was A loving man. 

James Dobson said, “One of the best things a father can do for his children is to love their mother.” That’s what Joseph did. He loved Mary, even when he thought she didn’t love him. 

The Scriptures draw the picture for us of a wonderfully caring and affectionate man. And we can see this in his relationship toward Mary. 

Matthew 1:19. Joseph finds out that Mary is pregnant. He hasn’t had any great revelation yet. What is he to think? What would YOU guys think? You’ve fallen in love with this pretty young girl. You do all the right things. You pursue her in the proper customary way. 

In stolen moments you’ve talked with her about dreams for a future together. A cottage with a white picket fence. A family. A business. And then out of the blue you learn that this sweet girl you thought you knew so well is newly pregnant. 

You don’t know who the father is, but there is one person you know you can rule out! How does it make you feel? Angry? Betrayed? 

The penalty for adultery in the Old Testament was death by stoning. And this penalty applied to infidelity during betrothal as well as marriage. 

Upon discovery that Mary was pregnant, Joseph would have been obliged to divorce her (divorce was required to break off a betrothal engagement), and this would expose Mary to public shame and humiliation. 

BUT, even before God spoke to Joseph, Joseph didn’t have any vengeance or bitterness in his heart. The Bible says: he “was minded to put her away secretly”. 

There were ways in which a divorce could be enacted very quietly, without the involvement of a court, and Joseph was already considering the best way to do this. 

Joseph was kind. He loved Mary. It’s based on a real commitment. And husbands, the Bible says to us today that we must love our wives with all that we have. 

Ephesians 5:25 (NKJV) Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her; the example is that we must love our wives sacrificially, even as Christ loved the church and laid down His life for it. 

Joseph was a loving man toward Mary. 

But we also see that Joseph was a loving man in his relationship toward Jesus. 

When the child came along, the child he had not conceived, there was no attitude in Joseph that “This boy isn’t my flesh and blood”. There was no resentment or indifference toward Him; no lack of love at all. 

Joseph adopted Jesus as his own. He protected Him from the hatred of Herod. He nurtured Him and cared for Him. Evidently, he taught Jesus his own trade of carpentry. He adopted the one that the rest of the world would reject. 

Today, by contrast, we see men who are prepared to abdicate their role even toward their own children. Men are opting out of the father role because of its costs. 

1 Timothy 5:8: “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever!” 

Joseph was a LOVING man. That’s the first thing that is clear. SECONDLY: Joseph was: A DEVOUT MAN. He was a man who OBEYED God.

He explicitly followed the Lord’s leading and direction. He didn’t follow his own marked-out plan for life, he wanted God’s plan for his life. So, when God spoke to him in a dream and told him to marry Mary, even though she was pregnant, He obeyed. 

Then when God spoke and said: “Take Mary and Jesus and flee to Egypt for safety” - he immediately obeyed. He closed up his business and left. 

Then when God said: “its okay now, head back to Israel”, again he did as he was directed. He was a man of obedience.

Another thing: He was a man of FAITH.

It takes FAITH to pack your bags and head off to a foreign country with no prospects and no planning; simply on the basis that God said go. He had faith and obeyed the dream. He could have made excuses to stay where the prospects looked good, but NO, he was a man of faith. 

We fathers that are here this morning, our faith will speak to our children! I pray you raised them or are raising them in an environment of faith toward God. 

I read the story of a farmer who had toiled over a bumper crop of grain, a badly needed crop of grain, a badly needed crop that was going to pay off many creditors and secure the family for another year. 

But just a few days before it was due to be harvested a freak wind and hailstorm ravaged the property, and the harvest was lost. The man stood with his little boy looking over the fields of destroyed grain. 

The boy expected to hear his father really upset. But instead, his Dad began to softly sing: “Rock of Ages cleft for me, let me hide myself in Thee.” 

Years later that boy, grown into manhood, said: “That was the greatest sermon I ever heard!” His father had shown him faith where the rubber meets the road! 

Steve Shepherd tells the story of a father and son who went to the circus one day. “Once when I was a teenager, my father and I were standing in line to buy tickets for the circus. Finally, there was only one family between us and the ticket counter. There were eight children, all probably under the age of twelve. You could tell they didn’t have a lot of money.

The children were well-behaved, all of them standing in line, two-by-two behind their parents, holding hands. They were excitedly jabbering about the clowns, elephants, and other acts they would see that night. One could sense they had never been to a circus before. It promised to be a highlight of their young lives. 

The father and mother were at the head of the pack standing proud as could be. The mother was holding her husband’s hand, looking up at him as if to say, you’re my knight in shining armor. He was smiling and basking in pride, looking at her.

“The ticket lady asked the father how many tickets he wanted. He proudly said, ‘Please, let me buy eight children’s tickets and two adult tickets so I can take my family to the circus.’ Then the ticket lady quoted the price. The man’s wife let go of his hand, her head dropped, and the man’s lip began to quiver. The father leaned a little closer and asked, ‘How much did you say?’ The ticket lady again quoted the price.

“The man didn’t have enough money. How was he supposed to turn and tell his eight kids that he didn’t have enough money to take them to the circus? 

Seeing what was going on, my dad put his hand in his pocket, pulled out a $20 bill and dropped it on the ground. Then my father reached down, picked up the bill, tapped the man on the shoulder and said, ‘Excuse me, Sir, I believe this fell out of your pocket.’

“Of course, the man knew what was going on. He wasn’t begging for a handout but certainly appreciated the help in a desperate, heartbreaking, embarrassing situation. 

He looked straight into my dad’s eye, took my dad’s hand in both of his, squeezed tightly onto the $20 bill, and with quivering lips and a tear streaming down his cheek, replied, ‘Thank you, thank you. This really means so much to me and my family.’

“My father and I went back to our car and drove home. We didn’t go to the circus that night, but we didn’t go without.” 

Fathers, that’s the kind of lesson that sticks with your kids. 

Joseph was leaning on God. He was a man of FAITH. And one more thing: He was a man who was faithful in spiritual duty. 

He set an example for his family, going to the Temple; attending the feasts. (We read about it in LUKE 2:41) He was regular in going to God’s house. 

Did you hear about the little boy who was playing on a Sunday morning while his Dad was in a lounge chair reading the paper? The father said: “Son, get yourself ready for Sunday School”. The little boy asked: “Are you coming with me today, Dad?” The man replied: “No, I’m not coming. But I want you to hurry up and get ready”. The little boy said: “Did you used to go to Sunday School when you were a boy, Dad?” He said: “I most certainly did!” As he walked away the boy mumbled: “Yeah, and I bet it won’t do me any good either!” 

Our kids are watching our faithfulness. 

So, let’s just re-cap for a moment. Joseph was a LOVING man. (Toward his wife. Toward his son. Toward his whole family and toward Jesus.) Secondly, he was a DEVOUT man. (A man of obedience and faith and being faithful in spiritual duty.) 

Finally, he was also: A WISE MAN. 

Now listen carefully. Joseph was wise because he lived as one who REDEEMED THE TIME. 

By all accounts it seems that Joseph had a shortened life. We don’t read of him after Jesus’ childhood, and at the Cross Jesus charged John with the care of His mother, so it seems that Joseph was taken from them prematurely. 

But Joseph had used what time he had been given honorable, wisely! He had provided for his family. He set an example for them that they would remember. He had raised them in the nurture and the admonition of the Lord. 

Jesus was not the only child he had; he raised other boys for the Lord also, and daughters as well. He had other sons; we know two of them were greatly used by God. They wrote books of the Bible (James and Jude). James was leader of the church in Jerusalem. 

Joseph raised his children in the ways of the Lord, and He left behind him a legacy after his lifetime. 

So, what do we learn from a man whose words were never recorded in Scripture?  Joseph’s example teaches us some invaluable lessons in fatherhood. 

To all of the righteous, responsible, and spiritually alive dads here today—thank you. Thank you for showing us what it means to be a good man. Thank you for always being there when we needed you. Thank you for your loving God and for making us want to do the same. 

This man, Joseph, inspires me. I’m sure that he wasn’t perfect - BUT HE WAS DEVOTED, and he was doing his very best - redeeming the time. 

Whether you are a father or not, whether you had a loving father growing up or not, you need to know that you have a Father in heaven who loves you. He wants nothing more than for you to be a part of his eternal family.  


 When Voices Of Hope Evangelistic Team is ministering in Word and Song, their Fire Choir will sing several songs and then lead the Congregation in singing. Since that isn't possible on-line, please click here and may you be blessed by the song, "Faith of Our Fathers."