What happened to Joseph – Mary’s husband?

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The last mention of Joseph, husband of Mary the mother of Jesus, was during the temple visit in Jerusalem when Jesus was twelve years old. Towards the end of their visit, Joseph and Mary got separated from Jesus and were greatly troubled and in anguish. Three days later they finally found Him dialoguing with the religious leaders at the temple. Relieved yet regretful of the worry they suffered, Mary “said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing. And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?” (Luke 2:48, 49).

After being in the temple and understanding the nature of His life on earth, Jesus apparently became more aware of His relationship to His heavenly Father and His mission. It was appropriate then that His earthly “father” Joseph should fade from the gospel picture. The silence of the Scriptures concerning Joseph from this time forth suggests that he did not live to see the opening of Christ’s public ministry. There are several reasons that support this idea:

  1. Jesus started His ministry when He was thirty years old probably because He needed to be home to take care of His mother and family.
  2. At the very beginning of Jesus’ ministry, the Bible records the story of the wedding at Cana (John 2). The Bible mentions how Mary the mother of Jesus played a role in asking Jesus to provide for the guests, but there is no reference to Joseph.
  3. When Jesus was on the cross, He asked His disciple John to take care of His mother (John 19:26-27). If Joseph was alive, Jesus wouldn’t have asked a non-kin to take care of His mother. This would not have been appropriate.
  4. There is no mention of Joseph being alive during the ministry of Jesus in the other books of the New Testament.
  5. There is no mention of Joseph being alive during the ministry of Jesus in the Church history.

Check out our Bible Answers page for more information on a variety of topics.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team


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