Summary: Although we know little about Joseph’s life, we know quite a bit about his character from his actions. He demonstrated great faith. We can learn much from living Holy lives by following the example set by Joseph.
Joseph is too often overlooked in the Christmas story. We must never fail to acknowledge the role he played in the life of Jesus. It wasn't just a coincidence that he was engaged to be married to Mary. He was chosen by God for this special calling...to be the earthly father of Jesus.
God in His almighty wisdom looked down from His throne in Heaven and selected Joseph to be the husband of Mary and the foster father of Jesus. Very little is known about Joseph, the man chosen by God to be the foster father of Jesus. It is very clear that he listened and obeyed to God, but not a single time are his words recorded.
I don’t think any of us can imagine what Joseph felt and what thoughts he had as all of this filled his head…and his heart. Just think the load of responsibility Joseph must have felt when receiving the news that he was chosen to raise and care for the Son of God – the promised Messiah – the Savior of the world. These lyrics from the song, Joseph’s Song by Michael Card, seem to do a pretty good job.
“Father show me how I fit into this plan of Yours,
How can a man be father to the Son of God?
Lord, for all my life I've been a simple carpenter,
How can I raise a King, How can I raise a King?”
We can only imagine the conversations Joseph may have had with Mary or what he might have said to Jesus as he taught him the family trade of carpentry. Joseph seems to fade away after he and Mary find Jesus in the temple after searching for Him for three days.
Although we know little about Joseph’s life, we know quite a bit about his character. And as we know, strong Godly character is built through faith in God.
>Joseph was RIGHTEOUS and MERCIFUL. (Matthew 1:19)
Being under the assumption that Mary had been unfaithful to him, Joseph could have easily followed the Law of Moses by ending the engagement. Joseph chose to show righteousness and mercy. Although he set his mind on divorce, he decided to do it quietly and privately so that Mary would not be dishonored or harmed.
>Joseph TRUSTED God. (Matthew 1:20-23)
It took great faith to believe such an impossible story about Mary’s pregnancy. Even when there was no way to logically explain or understand the situation he faced, Joseph chose to trust God and step out in faith.
>Joseph was OBEDIENT. (Matthew 1:24)
Joseph demonstrated absolute obedience to God’s call and commands. He obeyed God in taking Mary as his wife and was charged with giving the child His name. The name he gave would identify His mission. Jesus – Yahweh Saves. Joseph continued to be obedient to God’s commands as recorded in scripture.
>Joseph was a DEVOTED FAMILY MAN. (Matthew 2:13-15 & 19-23)
Instead of being resentful, Joseph took Mary as his wife and accepted the child to whom she would give birth. It’s been said the best thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother. Joseph demonstrated unconditional love for Mary with undying devotion. He cared for Jesus like his own son and did what was necessary to keep Him and His mother safe from danger. By accepting the role as the earthly father to the Messiah, Joseph teaches us about the faithful obedience and the grace of God.
>Joseph HONORED God. (Luke 2:21-24 & 41)
Joseph followed all the religious customs according to the Law of Moses. This was done to honor and obey God’s commands.
God can instantly change the planned direction of anyone’s life and He did just that with Joseph. Joseph probably thought his life was pretty well planned out with his marriage and vocation being arranged neatly for him. But just when everything looked promising, his world came crashing down. He discovered that his bride-to-be was pregnant. Joseph was facing quite a dilemma which most probably seemed hopeless. All of us face troubling situations which require tough decisions. God allows us to go through difficult times we may not understand so that we can learn to place our trust in Him. It is never easy, but if we can learn to trust God even in those times of confusion and uncertainty; our faith will be strong no matter what might come our way. This was the case with Joseph. God was preparing him for a time when he would have to make decisions for his young family based entirely on faith and trust in God.
***Are you going through a time of uncertainty with a difficult decision to be made?
Is God calling on you for something special?
Maybe you need to ask yourself, “What is God preparing me for?”