Joseph the Father of JesusQUESTION: What happened to Joseph the father of JesusANSWER:
We know very little about the years of Jesus prior to His public ministry. The gospels are without notation of any childhood events beyond Christ's birth except one reference that is found in Luke. It is the very last time that Joseph, the adoptive father of Jesus, is ever mentioned.
Luke 2:41 reads: "Every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover. When he was twelve years old, they went up to the Feast, according to the custom. After the Feast was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, 'Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.' 'Why were you searching for me?' he asked. 'Didn't you know I had to be in my Father's house?' But they did not understand what he was saying to them. Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men."
It is supposed that Joseph, the father of Jesus, died during the quiet years of Jesus' life. We do know that he trained Jesus in his trade, as that of a carpenter. He do know that Joseph and Mary had children after Jesus was born: James, Joses, Simon, and others.
Perhaps the cause or timing of his death is not nearly as important as the strength of character he displayed. In first hearing about Mary's pregnancy, Joseph did not want to subject Mary to public scorn. After hearing from the angel who confirmed Mary's incredulous story, Joseph obediently accepted the role as surrogate father for the baby Jesus, the Christ child. Matthew 1:24-25 says, "When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus."
The last reference about Joseph in Luke confirms that Joseph was a devout follower of the customs of his religion with his observance of Passover. It implies that Joseph made certain of good spiritual training for the children in his family. Joseph proved his integrity and willingness to be obedient to God's direction and guidance.