Joseph raised Jesus. He provided for Him, taught Him a trade, and he loved Him. All the time he knew Jesus was not his son. Joseph set aside his rights as patriarch of the family and placed his own concerns secondary to the calling of his wife and the saving purpose of the child Messiah.
Joseph probably died before Jesus started His public ministry. Joseph was likely watching from heaven as Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount, healed the sick, walked on water, and died on the cross. And then breathlessly, he waited and cheered with the excitement of a proud father as Jesus’s victory was sealed by the resurrection.
Only he wasn’t His father. This he could never allow himself to forget. Jesus has an eternal Father. Joseph was merely a steward. A proud guardian. He was privileged just to be a part of it.
So in heaven after the ascension, when everyone was pressing to see Jesus return to the throne. Joseph went with all the others, but with a different perspective. That was the boy he raised coming home to take his glorious place.
But it’s easy to imagine that Jesus had something He wanted to do first. Instead of walking down the corridor of heaven to His eternal and righteous place beside the Father, He pressed through the crowd, found the man who had done so much for Him, and threw His arms around him.
Jesus reuniting with Joseph. Embracing the man who walked him through childhood. Jesus thanking Joseph.
And Joseph thanking Jesus.