The Lord always upholds His created order regarding family everywhere in Scripture. He never even remotely deviates from it in the slightest way.
What is His created order regarding family? That family consists of a male husband and father – a female wife and mother – and children, all of whom are male or female.
The Lord always upholds His created order regarding family everywhere in Scripture. From Genesis to Revelation – even when it comes to the incarnation of Christ on earth – we see the Lord always upholds His created order regarding family.
He gave His Son, Jesus, an earthly father and mother. He also grew up with brothers and sisters.
The Christmas season is – among other things – a time for family. And it is also a time for men to reflect how they have been doing regarding their families when it comes to their God-given duties as providers, protectors, and priests.
And Joseph – like any other earthly father – was designed by God to be a provider, protector, and priest to his family.
Consider Joseph as provider. The Scriptures of course teach repeatedly that men are to be providers. 1 Timothy 5:8 in addressing men, states plainly that “anyone who does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”
All the people in Jesus’ hometown knew that Joseph was a carpenter – that is how he provided for his family. In Mark 6:3, the people ask regarding Joseph “Is this not the carpenter?” Whereas in Matthew 13:54-55, the people were asking regarding Jesus “Is this not the carpenter’s Son?”
The recording of two different questions for the same situation is fine as the people were probably saying both. Why would they being saying both? Because it was customary at this time for a son of that station to be taught by the father in his father’s work.
Joseph provided for his family through the work of carpentry – and he taught his Son carpentry. Jesus worked. Men work. Part of God’s created order for mankind is to work. A man find’s his purpose, in part, through his work. A man exercises dominion, in part, through his work.
So here we see Joseph was a provider for his family – like all men are meant to provide for their families.
Consider Joseph as Protector. The Scriptures are repeatedly clear on this – men are to be protectors. Protectors of society – but foremost protectors of their families. We see this throughout the Bible beginning way back with Abraham. And Joseph was no different. The Scriptures reveal he, too, was a protector.
In Matthew 2:13-15, we see Joseph was a protector. He protected his family. Yes, at times you can even protect your family by fleeing.
So Scripture shows Joseph was a provider and a protector. And he was also a priest.
Priest. The man – as head of his home – is to also be the priest of his home. You understand we are all priests – all of us who believe in Christ – whether husband, wife or child – this is known as the priesthood of all believers. Peter speaks of this in 1 Peter when he states in chapter 2 verse 5 that “we” [all those who believe in Jesus] are “a holy priesthood.”
But men – as heads of their home – have a particular responsibility when it comes to religious duties. And this is what we mean by calling the man a priest to his home. The man is a provider, protector, and priest to his home. And Joseph demonstrated this in his home.
In Luke 2:22-41, we see Joseph and Mary practicing various religious functions and duties. All these different religious activities and functions and duties were – we know historically – the responsibility of the father as head of his home in seeing they were done. A man is to be priest to his home.
And it is no different in our day. Men have a duty as priests. They have the duty to instill prayer in the home; establish family worship and worship of the Lord in the home; declare divine blessings; and provide interpretation of Holy Scripture.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon in his sermon “Hindrances To Prayer” stated plainly: “I believe that the bulwark of Protestantism against Popery is Family Worship. Take that away, and give over the instruction of children in the fear of God, and you lay this country open again to the theory that prayer is most acceptable in the parish church, and so you get into the sacredness of places: then taking away the priesthood from the father of the family, who ought to be the priest in his own house, you make a vacancy for a superstitious priesthood, and, leaving the teaching with these pretenders, mischiefs innumerable are introduced.”
Your duty, men, is immense. The Scriptures speak of it again and again. Men are to be providers; protectors; and priests to their homes.
And in the life of Joseph – one of the players in the Christmas story; one of the historical figures of the incarnation of Christ, we see within him that he was a provider, a protector, and a priest to his home. Short as the narrative is in Scripture about his life, even then we see him as provider, protector, and priest.
The Christmas season is – among other things – a time for family. And it is also a time for men to reflect upon how they have been doing regarding their families when it comes to their God-given duties as providers, protectors, and priests.
Let us do right by Him, men. Your duties are a bulwark against evil, and at the same time, they are a battering ram to topple evil — as you instill in your sons and daughters the Christian faith.
Matthew Trewhella is the pastor of Mercy Seat Church (MercySeat.net); founder of Missionaries to the Preborn (MissionariestothePreborn.com); and author of the book “The Doctrine of the Lesser Magistrates” (DefyTyrants.com). He and his wife Clara have eleven children and twenty-nine grandchildren. They reside in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin area.