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What St. Joseph’s work tells us about Jesus


Gerrit van Honthorst | Public Domain

Philip Kosloski - published on 04/30/24

Jesus could have come to earth the son of a politician, a priest, or even a philosopher. Instead, he came to be the son of a carpenter.

God was very deliberate about how he came to earth, choosing the Virgin Mary as his mother and St. Joseph as his foster father.

The choice of St. Joseph in particular had many implications, as Jesus would grow-up in his household and would learn his trade.

Have you ever thought about why Jesus came into this world to become the son of a carpenter?

He could have easily been the son of a soldier, politician, Pharisee, Temple priest, or even a philosopher.

Yet, he chose to become the son of a man who worked with his hands.

A poor, humble carpenter

Alexis Lepicier provides some interesting points to ponder in his book Go to Joseph, Our Unfailing Protector:

God then had ordained that the holy Patriarch St. Joseph should be engaged in a kind of work common to the poor people, that so Jesus Christ Himself might ennoble it by inheriting it from His earthly father and freely embracing the same. Thus does our blessed Lord teach us that for the humbler class of workmen He has in reserve His choicest graces.

In addition to choosing a trade that the poor were more readily engaged in, he also wanted to showcase a trade that fostered humility:

Furthermore, Our Lord came down from heaven to give us an example of that virtue which is most pleasing to Him, namely, holy humility. Accordingly He chose for His earthly surroundings not the courts of princes, nor the halls of the learned, but a little unknown workshop at Nazareth. This lowly workshop was for many years the witness of the humble and hidden toiling of the God-Man.

Craftsman of the universe

God also chose a trade that reflects his own activity as “Maker of Heaven and Earth“:

For while engaged in fashioning the various specimens of his trade, the holy Patriarch [Joseph] was ever being reminded of the greatness and majesty of God, who as a most wise Architect, formed this vast universe with wonderful skill and incomprehensible power and repaired the damage caused by sin with a benevolence equal to His greatness.

Even with these three short reflections, we can see how Joseph’s work as a carpenter was not an accident. It wasn’t a coincidence that Joseph had a humble trade that had to deal with creating things in this world, giving them shape and substance.

God specifically chose to come into this world as a carpenter, telling us a great deal about himself and his mission for humanity.

BibleSaint JosephSaints
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