Saint Joseph, Then and Now; the Observant, Jew 6 of 10

Updated: February 2, 2023

by Louis Templeman

As soon as opportunity permitted, Joseph found better accommodations and removed Mary and her child from the grotto. As the days passed he had the holy child circumcised according to the dictates of the covenant God made with Israel. About a month later he brought the child and Mary to the Temple for the rite of purification.

Joseph was a good son, a good husband and a good father. He was quick and consistent in his obedience to God. He was doing God’s will. Nevertheless, he found things did not always go smoothly. He faced perplexities and sorrows. He had occasions to doubt he was performing well. But, he was a good man. Consistent. Steady. Obedient.

When the shepherds came, they had no access to the mother and child outside Joseph’s permission and watchfulness. Later when the Magi came they would visit the mother and child only under the watchful eye of Joseph. When Jesus was circumcised and later presented in the Temple Josephwas there. He did not neglect his duty. He knew his job, his calling, and he did it as best as he was able.

Luke 2: 22, “. . . they took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord . . . a pair of turtle doves or two young pigeons.” At the proper time, when Jesus was forty days old Joseph took Mary and Jesus to the Temple in Jerusalem to perform the rite of purification for her and to present Jesus, a first born male, to the Lord.

They presented to the priests the poor person’s sacrifice. This obviously occurred prior to the magi’s visit when the gifts would have made him temporarily a man of means. How strange this must have seemed to Joseph that the prophesied Messiah/King of Israel would be presented to the Lord with a poor person’s sacrifice.

Whatever consternation he may have felt over that was quickly overwhelmed by the appearance and prophetic words of Simeon and Anna. Anna was 84 years old. For about sixty years or so she had established herself as a fixture in the Temple in Jerusalem. With fasting and prayers she served the Lord. God honored her devotion by allowing her to see the Messiah and be one of the first to announce his appearance. Her exact words are not given but it is clear she immediately became Christ’s first evangelist and spoke to everyone who looked for God’s redemption.

Simeon is not clearly defined in the Scripture record. It may be assumed he was a priest, a Spirit-led man and a prophet. Luke 2: 25, “Simeon . . . came in the Spirit . . . when the parents brought in the child Jesus to perform the custom of the law . . . The child’s mother and father were amazed at what was said about him and Simeon blessed them . . . .”

What amazed Joseph was Simeon held the child like he was the greatest treasure of which earth could boast. He then looked up in prayer and told God that he was now ready to die. His life was fulfilled. It could not get any better than this. He held the fulfillment of God’s promises to Israel in his arms. His long life of service to God and his people had now reached its apex.

Joseph walked through this period of testing, consternation and doubts with steady faithfulness. As he adhered to the laws and customs God used simple shepherds seeing angels and Temple prophets to providing the blazing that he needed to affirm he was on the right path.

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