If you have never heard a sermon about him it’s not because you don’t go to church as often as you should or that preachers don’t like him. As a matter of fact even the Bible doesn’t seem to say that much about him, but the much it does say means quite a lot.
He was not Jesus’ biological father (for Jesus had none), you may at best refer to him as Jesus’ foster father. He was a simple man whose realities gave no inkling of his royal heritage; a descendant of King David whose fortunes had descended so badly that he made his living not as a royal land owner but as a village carpenter.
However as difficult as his life might have been, the callouses that hardened his carpenter’s hands never did harden his royal heart. And so when he found out that his fiancé Mary was pregnant with Jesus, the bible says that:
Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. (Matthew 1:18, 19 NKJV)
Do not for a moment imagine that making her a public example would merely have ended with salacious gossips about “that Mary who couldn’t keep her legs together”. In the time and place where this happened, young women who couldn’t prove their virginity on the wedding night with blood stained sheets were stoned to death, how much more those whose bulging tummies ‘proved beyond any doubts’ what had supposedly been going on.
But Joseph being a just (righteous) man could see beyond the letter of the law. In this he towered above the men and religious scholars of his time who once brought a woman to Jesus who was caught in the act of adultery demanding that he ratify their decision to implement the law to the letter by stoning her to death. Like his father and foster father, Jesus chose the royal way.
Although hardly ever the subject of sermons, Joseph by his life preaches an enduring sermon – God does not seek the death of the sinner. What about you?