Summary: Not much is said about Joseph the husband of Mary in the Holy Bible. But the simplicity of his story in Matthew 1 can lead to some conclusions indicating that he was a man who loved God and had amazing character traits! PTL!!
How do you react when something totally unexpected and earth shattering happens in your life? We can learn a lot from how Joseph responded to Mary’s unexpected pregnancy.
“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.
“Because Joseph her (intended) husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her (break the engagement) quietly.
“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.’
“‘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.’
“All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: ‘The virgin will conceive and give birth to a Son, and they will call Him Immanuel’ (which means ‘God with us’).
“When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave Him the name Jesus.”
What an example of a person living a holy life!
Just try to imagine! Joseph is an ordinary guy, with an ordinary life, doing an ordinary job, engaged to an ordinary lady, preparing for an ordinary wedding, planning to have lots of ordinary children, raise them in the ordinary Jewish tradition and eventually die an ordinary death. Ordinary!
Ordinary is not bad. Ordinary has taken on a poor reputation in America. If you’re not exemplary you must be just ordinary, but, if everyone was exemplary then exemplary would be ordinary and where would that leave us?
No, when I describe Joseph as being “ordinary” it is with the meaning of someone who is customary, usual or normal. Just your average Joe, so to speak.
But, then he receives some amazingly unordinary news! Mary is pregnant and he doesn’t know the back story.
Do you know what a back story is? It is a narrative providing a history or background context.
For instance … why was puny little David ready or even anxious with anticipation to get out on the battle field and fight the giant Goliath? It doesn’t make any sense does it? His physical capabilities were limited and he had no special training in fighting skills, but … and here’s the backstory … David had a God whom he loved and trusted and this heathen man was insulting David’s God.
David also had experience with fighting other giants with the help of Jehovah!
As it says in 1 Samuel 17:34-37b
“But David said to Saul, ‘Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth.
“When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God.
“The LORD who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.”
That’s the backstory that’s why David was set on fighting Goliath. He was infuriated that Goliath would challenge the armies of the living God and David had a personal, first hand knowledge of the power and faithfulness of his loving God.
Now, back to Joseph. He knew that Mary was pregnant but he did not know the backstory. He did not know that Mary had been visited by the angel Gabriel and told that she would have a Son conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit! All he knew was that:
Mary was pregnant
He knew how women became pregnant
And, he knew that he had not had any union with her
So, without the knowledge of the backstory what’s a man to do?
So many options; anger, depression, acting as if nothing is wrong
What did Joseph do after he discovered she was pregnant?
“Because Joseph (who was pledged to be) 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 (break the engagement) quietly. But after he had considered this …