this time of year, Joseph gets a lot of love. we don’t really talk much about the earthly father of Christ from January to November…but here, in the last month of the year, we remember the role Joseph played in the Christmas drama.
the fact Joseph gets the most PR at Christmas might be due to the fact that he only really appears in the Bible when Jesus is born. outside of the birth accounts, Joseph is noticeably absent from the pages of my Bible. i don’t know…but i am suspecting he might have died when Jesus was still young.
but, you will notice he very much is on the scene when Jesus makes his way in to the world. in those few short pages, we see two amazing qualities of his man.
1) his character.
Joseph found out his fiance, Mary, was pregnant. but he also knew the baby wasn’t his. that’s a dilemma. in Matthew 1 it says that Joseph was a righteous man, faithful to the law. the law stated Mary was an adulteress and should be publicly stoned. yet, Joseph “did not want to expose her to public disgrace.” (Matthew 1:19) he would break of his engagement quietly.
extraordinary. at the time, Joseph did not know the baby Mary was carrying was from God. he only knew she was pregnant and the baby wasn’t his. instead of destroying Mary…and the baby…he wanted to shield her from further disgrace. that’s classy, man.
2) his obedience.
after Joseph finds out from the angel that the baby Mary carries is the Holy Spirit’s work, his faithfulness is put to the test.
the angel tells Joseph to take Mary home to be his wife.
his response: “[Joseph] did what the angel of the Lord commanded him…” (Matthew 1:24)
the angel appears again, after Jesus is born, and tells Joseph to flee to Egypt with Mary to save the boy’s life.
his response: “so [Joseph] got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt…” (Matthew 2:14)
once more, the angel appears and gives Joseph the green light to head back home.
his response: “so [Joseph] got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel.” (Matthew 2:21)
unwavering obedience. no matter where or how or when…if God told Joseph to go, he went. no questions asked.
Joseph was the real deal. we sing lots of songs this time of year about Mary…but we need to take notice of Joseph. his character and his obedience are more than admirable. they are qualities that make the man.
tomorrow, i want to spend more time talking about Joseph. while i long to be a man of character and obedience like Joseph…it turns out the two of us have other things in common.