Jesus Was Adopted

picture-2Have you ever thought about the fact that Jesus himself was adopted? This struck me for the first time as I watched The Nativity Story last year. There is a beautiful scene in which a woman looks at Mary and Joseph and noticing that Mary is expecting says to Joseph, “There is no other joy than seeing yourself in your child.” Joseph and Mary look at each other knowing that this baby would not look like Joseph.

Though Jesus is not his biological son, Joseph of Nazereth, is clearly identified as Jesus’ father (Luke 2:41, 48). This is also seen in the fact that Luke and Matthew identify Jesus’ relationship with Abraham and David through the lineage of Joseph’s. Just as my adopted son inherited my lineage and is ingrafted into my family tree, so too was Jesus into Joseph’s.

A number of things strike me about this but one in particular is Joseph’s experience as an adoptive father. Dr. Russell Moore points out in his excellent commentary

With full legal rights to abandon Mary and her unborn child — perhaps to a fate worse than death — Joseph obeyed the Father in becoming a father. When Herod — the Roman Empire’s precursor to “Planned Parenthood” — sought the destruction of the infants, Joseph shielded this child from the murderous rage of infanticide (Matthew 2:13-18). In his obedience, Joseph demonstrated what his other son would later call “pure and undefiled” religion, the kind that cares for the fatherless and the abandoned (James 1:27).

It is here that Joseph is perhaps a model for a new generation of Christians. In a culture captivated by the spirit of Herod, could it be that God is calling our churches to follow the example of Joseph?

The implications of Jesus’ adoption by Joseph were history-altering and life-transforming for all mankind. Imagine what would have happened had Joseph not claimed Jesus as his own and provided the protection and care that he did?

I pray for the many men this year who will follow the example of Joseph and obey God’s call on their lives to care for the fatherless. Joseph’s obediences literally changed history. We have an opportunity to change history (to a lesser degree but still significantly) by changing the future destiny of the fatherless and unborn of our world.

8 thoughts on “Jesus Was Adopted

  1. Jesus wasn’t adopted, he stayed with his natural mother. He didn’t have a fake birth certificate saying someone who had never been pregnant gave birth to him. He didn’t grow up wondering why his mother didn’t keep him. He grew up with his mother who looked and moved and sounded like him. He didn’t wonder what happened to her all of his life, wondering who his mother was.

    Mary didn’t get badgered by a social worker telling her she should do the right thing and give up her baby. A social worker wasn’t there saying it was wrong to keep him and that she would be taking the easy way out if she kept him. No, there were three Kings with gifts, an angel hovering over the top of the barn, a celebratory star announcing his birth. Jesus was not adopted, his mother didn’t spend the rest of her life beating herself up about why on earth she let people talk her into giving her baby away.


    • thank God I was adopted!!! met me birth mother, father, and even though my birth mother felt pain making the choice to let me go to my spiritual parents, it was the absolutely correct thing to happen in my life. Kim…. feel good, that God allowed you to be part of the story of the child you gave birth too. I just told my son (adopted) what i was writing about. I said thank God I was adopted, and he said the same thing too. WE both were. just born to the wrong parents…… don’t feel bad about your most sacred part of bringing that child into this world for God!

  2. Kim,
    Thanks for your comment! I agree with you regarding the fact that Jesus was not adopted by Mary and thus experience what you describe in your comment. In my post I was trying to capture a little bit of Joseph’s experience and the fact that he took Jesus as his own child. Jesus birth and “adoption” is really unlike anything. You bring up the unfortunate experience of some birth moms. It is those kinds of adoptions and experiences that no one really wants to see happen. Thanks again for your comment.

    Grace and peace,


  3. Joseph might be a role model for step fathers? Or partners who step in and help raise a child when the natural father is absent. This might be true.

    But really Jesus wasn’t adopted.

    Answer these questions because you want to say that Jesus can relate to adoptees:

    1. Did Jesus have his name changed?
    2. Did Jesus have two birth certificates, one that was locked away and denied to him and the other that said a woman who hadn’t given birth to him gave birth to him.
    3. Did Jesus wonder why his mother hadn’t been able to keep him?
    4. Did Jesus wonder who he got his talents from?
    5. If Jesus had gone to a doctor and had been asked about his medical information would he have had to say he didn’t know because he was adopted?

    Those unfortunate experiences happen to all mothers who relinquish, not some. Mary fortunately did not have that happen to her although her baby was born in a barn and she claimed that an Angel had announced she was pregnant and the father was not human, can you imagine how that would work out it a woman made those claims today?

    It really bothers me when people want to say that Jesus was adopted, it makes me think you are trying to justify and encourage adoptions. Jesus wasn’t adopted.

    Joseph may have been a step father but that is a totally different experience to adoption.

  4. I want to make the point about Joseph did adopt Jesus just like a step-father can adopt their step-child.

    • Kim, you are sadly misinformed. This stuff does not happen to “ALL” birth mothers. Only those that are unfortunate enough to NOT stand up and say “I am making this decision. NOBODY is forcing me. This is MY child and what is best for him/her.”

      I know this because I gave my son up for adoption 15 years ago. Sure, I miss him, but I know he is happy. How do I know this? Because I hand-picked his adoptive parents, we correspond (although not face-to-face, my decision), I helped pick his name, I have his original birth certificate (he can see if when/if he so desires). He has a letter from me and his birth father saying why we did not keep him, but how much we loved him. He is able, when/if he chooses, to contact either myself or his birth father.

      Also, I myself was adopted. I never wondered why. My mother was young. My father was young. I get my talents from both of them, but I am unlike either of them. I may seek my birth parents one day, like my friend and my cousin have, but at 33 I still have no real desire. My adoptive parents are great parents.

      I am sorry that you or someone you know has had such a bad experience. That was just some tough luck and a very unfortunate thing to happen. But please know that it is not always like that.

  5. I am adopted. Not in the traditional sense but in the same way that Jesus was adopted. My mother, was always my mother and raised me. When she remarried, I chose to have my “stepfather” adopt me. I say it in quotation because in all senses of the name, he was my father and my daddy. There are a few different versions of being adopted. Not all of them include being given up, fake birth certificates etc. He raised me as his own, just as Joseph chose to do with Jesus. Thank God he was adopted and I feel a connection having the same situation. My biological father had nothing to do with me as I was growing up and was not a father. There is a difference in someone being a step father and someone being an adoptive father. I WAS ADOPTED IN EVERY SENSE OF THE WORD. So for the first comment by another Kim…Please educate yourself.

    And Kim, to answer your questions above:
    1. Did Jesus have his name changed? Joseph and Mary married before he was born therefore he took the family name of Joseph upon birth. Otherwise he would have taken just Mary’s name.
    2. Did Jesus have two birth certificates, one that was locked away and denied to him and the other that said a woman who hadn’t given birth to him gave birth to him.
    Not every child experiences this and this is NOT always the case
    3. Did Jesus wonder why his mother hadn’t been able to keep him? His mother did keep him so this point that your stating is moot
    4. Did Jesus wonder who he got his talents from? He was taught a trade of carpentry by Joseph and never wondered as he began to discover very early on who his heavenly father was, it was no secret
    5. If Jesus had gone to a doctor and had been asked about his medical information would he have had to say he didn’t know because he was adopted? These were not standard practices but you still fail to realize, he knew that Joseph was not his “real” father. He claimed him as his earthly father but was very aware that God was his father in every sense. He knew that he was the son of God.

    You are injecting modern practices into ancient times. By the way, I do have two different birth certificates. My first birth certificate has my bio dads name and my adoptive birth certificate has my adoptive fathers name. It was never kept secret from me. NOT ALL ADOPTIONS ARE BACKROOM UNDERHANDED DEALINGS. You seem to be very bitter toward the process of any adoption. They aren’t trying to persuade adoption, they are showing that even in such brutal times a man stood up and beside a woman and raised a child that was not biologically his, even giving the child his family name. It still happens today.

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