Listen:  

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Let’s begin by reading the account of the birth of the Lord Jesus in Matthew 1:18-25, “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.  And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.  Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.  Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.”  Notice in verse 18 that it says that Mary was espoused, or engaged, to Joseph when he learned of Mary’s pregnancy.  Joseph’s first thought was to put Mary away, or leave her.  He desired to do this privately so as not to shame Mary.  What great love Joseph had for Mary!

The angel of the Lord spoke to Joseph and assured him that the baby Mary was carrying was conceived in her by the Holy Ghost, and that Joseph should not be afraid to marry this young virgin, Mary.  Joseph was obedient to the words of the angel and took Mary to be his wife.

There is absolutely no indication that Joseph had been married previously to marrying Mary, the mother of Jesus.  Let’s read John 2:12 which says, “After this he went down to Capernaum, he, and his mother, and his brethren, and his disciples: and they continued there not many days.”  There may be some confusion as to why Joseph is not mentioned here, along with Mary and Jesus’ earthly brothers.  In Luke 2:40-52, we have the story of Jesus teaching in the synagogue at the age of 12 years.  This is the last mention of Joseph in the Bible.  It is thought that by the time Jesus began his public ministry at the age of 30 that Joseph had already passed away.  That will explain why he was not mentioned when the family went to Capernaum.

This also explains the words of the Lord while on the cross in John 19:26-27 which says, “When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.”  If Joseph was still alive at that time, Mary certainly would have gone home to her husband.  Instead, the Lord Jesus lovingly gave her over to the Apostle John to care for after the Lord’s death.  (99.1)