Links Daily Devotional

Great Dads (On the Occasion of My Father’s Birthday)

But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus. (Matthew 1:25, NIV)

Not everyone who teaches is called Teacher.

Consider the way you have learned the game of golf. Sure, you may have received formal instruction from a teaching professional. But it would be highly unusual that you picked up every aspect of the game from this teacher. Others have played a part—including the marshal who barked at you to pick up the pace or pick up the ball and the friend who whispered in your ear that dinner companions don’t want to hear about every last shot you hit today.

In a nutshell, good dads are first good men.We are fully aware that Jesus had the Father. This was God in heaven, the Lord’s companion in the triune godhead. Indeed, he said, “When you have seen me, you have seen the Father” (John 14:9).

But Jesus had another father. It is likely that the toddler from Nazareth ran to this man, threw open his arms for a hug, and cried, “Abba!” Even as Jesus went about his Father’s business as a boy in the temple, he saw things in Joseph that informed his way of living.

We are introduced to Joseph in the context of Mary’s supernatural pregnancy. Before we are told that Joseph did not want to expose her to public disgrace for this embarrassing circumstance, we read: “Because Joseph was a righteous man…” (Matthew 1:19). Though Jesus himself affirmed the words of the prophets when he later said, “None is good,” Joseph is one of several men in Scripture recognized for their goodness or righteousness. This kind of righteousness has no purchasing power in regards to eternal life, but it is recognizable in comparing one man to another in the way they live their lives on earth.

In addition to his righteousness, Joseph was the leader in his marital relationship—and it was a leadership with spiritual sensitivity. Joseph saw and obeyed angels. Joseph refrained from the consummation of his marriage until the time was right. Joseph gave Jesus his name. Joseph heeded the warning of the angels and secreted his family to safety in Egypt, then listened again and returned, this time to Nazareth, where he would raise the boy in the family trade.

In a nutshell, good dads are first good men. They attend to the ways of the Lord, lead in their marriages and households, and pass on what is right to their children. There was much that Joseph could not teach Jesus, the one who would save his people. But he could show him what he knew, in character and in action.

Jeff Hopper
September 6, 2017
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