We have spent the last 11 days looking at Mary and her relatives Elizabeth and Zechariah. Today let’s look at Joseph and his attitudes and character. Matthew 1:18-25 gives the account of Joseph’s learning the news of his betrothed wife’s condition and what he thought and planned to do about it.
18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit.19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. 20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). 24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus. (NIV)
Scripture describes Joseph as a man who was faithful to the law, other translations use the word righteous or just. Being a religious and faithful Jew, Joseph tried to follow the Law and he knew that a public announcement of Mary’s condition would bring upon her the penalty for infidelity which was death by stoning. Deuteronomy 22:23-24 He also knew he could quietly divorce her and save her shame and death. He was compassionate, merciful or gracious towards Mary and decided to divorce her without announcing it publicly. However, an angel of the Lord came to him in a dream and told him how Mary got pregnant and that her child would be the Messiah, the one who would save them from their sins. Joseph knew the Old Testament prophecies about the coming Messiah and that he was to be born of a virgin. Joseph believed the angel without question and awoke to follow his instructions with genuine obedience.
Like Mary, Joseph immediately set out to follow the Lord’s commands and took Mary as his wife. By being obedient to the Lord, he opened himself to criticism and ridicule from friends and neighbors that he had caused her condition. By being obedient to the Lord, he put himself in a position to receive abundant blessings from God. He was to be the earthly father of Jesus, the one God was sending to save them. He was to have the privilege to raise God’s Son in his house, live with him day to day, teach him how to work with wood as a carpenter, to guide and love him. Just like Mary, Joseph considered following God and being obedient to the Lord of utmost importance. Luke 11:28 Jesus said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” Joseph heard from the angel what God desired and he immediately followed the Lord.
What about you? Are you willing to risk your reputation for the Lord? Will you speak out and proclaim Him as Lord even when it might be unpopular? Examine your heart today and seek to follow Jesus with faith and obedience, trusting Him in all things. You will find blessing just as Jesus promises.
Striving to be a faithful obedient follower of Jesus,