For good or bad, our parents really shape us. Even though Jesus is God, I think Joseph shaped the man that Jesus would become.
We know that Joseph was dead by the time Jesus started His ministry, which was when He was about 30 years old. But Joseph still had a big influence on Jesus, as we can see from Scripture. We also know that Joseph was a carpenter and that Jesus learned this trade (see Mark 6:3). Before power tools, carpentry was a very labor intensive trade. Jesus learned to shape the wood and work hard; He would continue to work hard as a prophet, and He learned how to shape people to follow Him. Joseph passed on to his adopted son the ability to shape the wood to the vision you have in your head.
Joseph also knew how to go against the grain. This is important at times in carpentry, but even more important in the life of a person who lives to honor God. Joseph accepted that he would be rejected, losing his reputation to stay engaged to Mary. He did it out of obedience. He was willing to be rejected by his friends and family to do what was right. Jesus followed in these footsteps, willing to speak out against the rich and powerful, willing to speak the truth. Jesus called His followers to shine like light, to be different, to be salt, and to be willing to be rejected by the world.
Jesus learned from Joseph that radical obedience would have a cost. To protect his family, Joseph fled with them to Egypt. This would have been costly and difficult, but he was obedient to the Lord. Jesus, his adopted son, would have to be obedient to the Father and go to the cross. Radical obedience makes a difference in the world, but it also has a big cost.
Joseph left a legacy. His choices shaped Jesus. We can live a legacy as well. Make a habit of passing on God’s truth to the next generation. Live a life fully devoted to Jesus.