Jesus knows what it’s like to lose a daddy. Somewhere between twelve years old (Luke 2:41-50) and the start of His ministry at about age thirty (John 2:1-12), Jesus’ daddy died. We’re not exactly sure when it happened, but Joseph is not mentioned anywhere in scripture during or after Jesus’ first miracle. In fact, when Jesus was dying on the cross, He entrusted His mom’s care to the apostle John (John 19:26-27). This is a clear sign that Joseph had died, or Jesus would not have done that. At some point, Jesus lost His earthly daddy. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons He stayed home till He was thirty so He could take care of His mom.
Joseph was a good man. When he first heard about Mary’s pregnancy, he didn’t want her to face public humiliation. He was a good father even though Jesus was not his son as He was “conceived of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 1:18). He stepped up to the plate after an encounter with an angel to be the surrogate father for baby Jesus (Matthew 1:20-21). He even protected Mary’s reputation by staying celibate until after Jesus’ birth, “Having no union with her until she gave birth to a son” (Matthew 1:24-25). He was a godly man, faithful to the law of Moses (Matthew 1:19), and observant of Passover and a provider of spiritual training for his children every year as they traveled to Jerusalem (Luke 2:41-42). He even dedicated Jesus before God after He was born (Luke 2:22-23). Joseph was a loving and protecting father, fleeing with Mary and Jesus after being warned in a dream by an angel of potential harm (Matthew 2:19-23). Joseph taught Jesus practical skills of how to work hard and earn a living. Mark 6:3 tells us Jesus was a carpenter, just like His father Joseph (Matthew 13:54-55). Overall, Joseph was a great man and dad to Jesus.
As we don’t know the exact time of Joseph’s death, one can only speculate that Jesus may have lost His dad when He was a teenager. Maybe it happened in his early 20’s? It was definitely before Jesus’ baptism and the start of His ministry at about age 30 (Luke 3:23). Perhaps Joseph knew he would not be around later in Jesus life? In Luke 2:35, although Joseph and Mary were both present, Simeon told Mary alone that, “A sword would pierce your own soul also.” This was referring to Jesus’ death on the cross as, “He would save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). At some point, Jesus lost His good, God-fearing, obedient, compassionate, nurturing, and loving earthly father. What a huge hole this left! What hurt Jesus must have experienced! Perhaps you have lost your dad as well? Maybe this Father’s Day is bitter-sweet? Maybe the memories of a good, Godly, nurturing, caring and loving father fill your mind? Maybe, like Jesus, your dad wasn’t there for some of the biggest moments in your life due to an untimely death? Jesus knows what it’s like to lose a dad. He knows what it’s like for him to be there one day, rock solid, and unimaginably gone the next. Maybe that’s one of the reasons Jesus rebuked the disciples for pushing children away as they approached Him (Matthew 19:13-15; Mark 10:13-16)? Maybe that’s why Jesus took the children in His arms and blessed them? Perhaps he saw Himself blessed in His father’s lap and desired them to experience the same kind of love? If you’re longing for your dad today, remember, Jesus understands. He is all too familiar in the loss of a dad as He has “born our griefs and carried our sorrows” (Isaiah 63:3). Take your pain to Jesus today. Take your longing to see your daddy once again to the One Who gets it. Let Him heal your broken heart (Psalm 34:18) because God is a “Father to the Fatherless” (Psalm 68:5-6).