The question of where Joseph was when Jesus died is prevalent. Everything about Joseph’s life sparks interest in the minds of many scholars. The Bible doesn’t talk much about Joseph or his life, which could be one of the key reasons why people are interested in Joseph’s life. Joseph was important in Jesus’ life and the New Testament.
The Bible doesn’t say much about Joseph. We’re told he was a carpenter and probably raised Jesus in the same profession. However, we’re told a lot about Joseph’s character through his actions. When Mary was pregnant with Jesus, not many people would have held on to that engagement because she was a virgin, yet she was pregnant. She was pregnant through divine intervention because she would be Christ’s mother, known within Christianity as the miraculous conception.
During this time, many men would’ve shamed Mary, telling the entire town of her “infidelity,” even though she didn’t do anything wrong. Pregnancy before marriage has become normalized in modern times, but it was terrible and horrific back then. There wasn’t a lot in the way of grace back then. Also, Mary would’ve been a teenager, with scholars guessing she was around 13.
Instead of exposing Mary to shame and embarrassment, Joseph wanted to quietly call off the wedding and separate from her so he wouldn’t ruin her reputation. That quality shows Joseph’s gentle and kind nature. We also see his nature in that when Mary tells Joseph she is pregnant divinely, he doesn’t leave and decides to stay with her. How many present-day men or men in the New Testament would’ve chosen to stay with Mary? Yet again, this shows Joseph’s kind nature and how much he loved Mary.
When Mary’s pregnancy was coming to an end, she and Joseph traveled due to the census. Mary gave birth to Jesus shortly after they arrived in Bethlehem. Joseph was there the whole time and probably had to help Mary deliver the baby. He assisted in every way he could and was happy that the baby was being born. Joseph was also older than Mary, with some scholars having varying views on his age. Some believe that he was 10 years older than Mary, while others argue that he was up to 50 years older. However, it’s more likely that he was up to 10 years older than her instead of 50.
Nevertheless, Joseph was older than Mary. During Jesus’ upbringing and childhood, Joseph fulfilled his fatherly role and raised Jesus as his child. He likely taught Jesus his trade, which was carpentry. Jesus was an adult when He started His ministry. However, Joseph isn’t mentioned again throughout Jesus’ ministry. On the other hand, Mary is mentioned numerous times during Jesus’ ministry and was present during Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection.
However, the Bible doesn’t mention Joseph. He isn’t talked about any time after Jesus’ ministry and adult life because he likely already passed away. Though the Bible doesn’t specifically tell us when Joseph died, it would be accurate to say that Joseph died before Jesus’ ministry started. The last mention of Joseph is when Jesus stayed behind at the Temple when He was 12 years old. Mary and Joseph began to look for Him. When they found Him after three days, Mary scolded Him, asking why He treated them like this and telling Him how they were looking for Him.
Where did Joseph go?
Knowing where Joseph was when Jesus died is simple to us. We’ve established that Joseph likely passed away before Jesus started His earthly ministry. If that’s the case, then it’s likely that Joseph was already dead at the time of Jesus’ death. As much as he loved and supported Jesus, Joseph would’ve been there at the crucifixion if he had been alive, just like Mary was present. However, Joseph wasn’t there because he had already died.
Joseph showed great faith and trust in God during his life. He believed in God and listened to the angel when he told him to move Jesus and Mary to another town. Joseph didn’t disregard this warning but took it to heart and did everything in his power to protect Jesus and Mary. As sad as it is, Joseph wouldn’t be present for Jesus’ death, but he’s with his son in heaven.
What Joseph’s life teaches us.
Jospeh’s life teaches us a lot. He showed incredible trust in God and His way, even when it didn’t make sense to Joseph. Everyone usually talks about Mary’s faith, but Joseph is generally overlooked. Joseph also displayed great trust and faith because, like Mary, his reputation could’ve been ruined. Despite what could’ve happened, Joseph trusted God no matter what. Also, Joseph’s life teaches us what it means to be compassionate, caring, and kind to others. Joseph’s interactions with Mary are never mean or harsh.
Joseph is always kind and gentle. Similarly, we never hear that Joseph treats Jesus unkindly. He fulfills the role of an earthly father figure to Jesus. Jesus might not have known His true father, but he respected Joseph as his earthly father. While we’re told that many of Jesus’ brothers didn’t believe who He said He was, we’re never told Joseph believed this idea. It’s true that Joseph likely passed away by this point, but Joseph would’ve believed Jesus was the Messiah.
With everything Joseph had experienced and seen, it would be doubtful for Joseph not to believe Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah. Therefore, Joseph was likely already dead by the time Jesus died. He wasn’t mentioned in the gospels after Jesus started His earthly ministry, so he probably died before Jesus’ ministry started. It’s also important to note that if Joseph were alive during Jesus’ crucifixion, He would’ve been there like Mary was.
Jesus wasn’t Joseph’s real son, but Joseph loved Him and raised Him as his child. Sadly, the Bible doesn’t give much information on how Joseph died but provides some context surrounding when he passed away. What matters most is how Joseph stepped up and cared for Jesus and Mary.