Summary: A short Christmas-themed sermon directed mostly at men that can be shorted to be a devotional, but also easily expanded extemporaneously.
Silent Joseph: A Godly Man
December 9, 2012
TEXT: Matthew 1:18-24 – “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. 20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. 21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. 22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, 23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. 24 Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife.”
We so often talk about Mary as a godly woman—an example of virtue, faith and obedience. Perhaps because Joseph was Jesus’ stepfather, he seems to be neglected when we examine the story of Jesus’ birth.
As I was wondering why that is so, I discovered something remarkable about Joseph: Did you know that not a single word that Joseph ever uttered is recorded anywhere in the Bible? He listens and obeys; that’s all that’s recorded
• We assume his words are recorded because we can visualize the conversations he must had with Mary and the Angel Gabriel, yet they are not recorded in the scriptures.
• We imagine a dialog between him and the innkeeper, but that’s pure speculation since ALL the Bible says about it is “there was no room for them at the inn.” (Luke 2:7)
• We can visualize him teaching Jesus about carpentry…but nothing is actually recorded about it in the New Testament.
Yet if you look at Joseph’s LIFE in the Gospels, you see that he was every bit as godly and exemplary as Mary. Let’s look at this man of excellence and godliness God chose to be Jesus’s earthly dad:
I. FIRST, NOTE THAT HE WAS A VIRTUOUS MAN – Matthew 1:18 – “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.”
Note the phrase “before they came together.”
Joseph and Mary had not consummated their love physically because they were NOT married YET.
Today very few people begin marriage as physically virtuous and pure.
Because we’re living in an era of moral decline, sex before marriage is common and no longer carries a stigma.
Joseph and Mary were also living in a period of moral decline.
It was another low point in the history of Israel.
Yet despite the prevailing moral values, they remained pure, even during their betrothal, and that’s a testament to Joseph’s character as well as Mary’s
Joseph resolved to keep himself pure despite what the culture said was okay.
Men, we need to be men of moral purity: men who can be trusted implicitly by our wives; men who would never stray or be unfaithful.
May we be men who are like the Old Testament Joseph, who when Potiphar’s tried to seduce him, he ran so quickly out of the house that she tore his coat off his back.
May we be men who do not have wandering eyes—who will heed David’s words in Psalm 101:3 – “I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes…”—who refuse to look at pornography or ogle passing women.
II. SECOND, I’D LIKE YOU TO SEE THAT JOSEPH WAS A COMPASSIONATE MAN – Matthew 1:19 – “Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily.”
Think of what a betrayal it must have seemed to Joseph! Joseph could’ve publicly accused her of immorality, because that’s how it appeared. He would certainly be within his rights under Jewish law. But Matthew says because he was “…not willing to make her a public example, [he] was minded to put her away privately.”
Why?—I think it was because of compassion for Mary.
Men, we ought to be men of compassion. Compassion and tenderness in men are not valued in our macho culture, especially in the military.
But the greatest man who ever lived was a walking example of those very qualities. The Bible says that even as Jesus was a “man’s man”—strong and imposing and masculine enough to run the moneychangers out of the Temple—He also possessed a meek and lowly spirit. Twelve times in the Gospels we’re told that Jesus had compassion on someone. And several times we’re told of Jesus’ tears, usually in public before many people. Jesus was man enough to cry!