Archive for December, 2017

The Wonder of Joseph

Usually when we read the Christmas story or even refer to it, we automatically go to the account given in Luke, which describes the actual birth more definitively.  So this year I decided to meditate on the book of Matthew instead.  Now I have read Matthew multiple times and studied it quite extensively, but never before was I so aware of the WONDER of the young man who was CHOSEN to be the ‘stand-in’ dad for the Christ-child!

We first learn a lot about his gentle and kind disposition in verses 18 and 19 of the first chapter which reads:  “This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit.  Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man, and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.”

I think most young men would be furious to find their betrothed was pregnant, knowing they had not come together yet.  They would want to shame and embarrass the girl to a certain extent.  Even before he was told it was God Himself Who had made Mary pregnant, he still wanted to respect and honor her and not shame her.  But when the angel told him it was of God, Joseph didn’t doubt for a moment!  I don’t know if he was accustomed to angels visiting him, but he certainly took it in stride and was quick to be obedient.

Later, immediately after the wise men visited the baby, the angel appeared to Joseph again telling him to hasten and leave the area to protect Mary and the Baby.  This second time he obeyed so immediately he got them all up in the middle of the night to leave for Egypt.  Egypt!  They had no family there.  Probably knew no one at all, but Joseph asked no questions.  He simply obeyed.

Then again after Herod died, the angel visited once more and told him it was safe to go home.  Again he arose and packed up Mary and Jesus and headed home to Israel.  On the way home the Bible tells us he was ‘warned in a dream’ not to go to Judea, so I’m not sure if that was visit number 4 or simply a dream, but at any rate, Joseph understood it was from God and obeyed without question.

There is SO much NOT told to us about the timetable of all of these incidents, but I can’t help but think it all took place in less than a year or two since there are no other children mentioned.  Some believe Jesus was two years old before the wise men even arrived, because of the distance traveled and because Herod said to kill children under the age of two, but I honestly believe the star appeared to the wise men in time to get them there for celebrating Jesus’ BIRTH, and they moved out in faith—possibly before He was even conceived.  Also, there is no mention of other children traveling with Joseph and Mary, so that also leads me to believe it was before more family came along for them.

At any rate, no matter what the timetable, I am humbled by Joseph’s sweet spirit of obedience.  I wonder how I would react were an angel to visit me and make such odd requests.  Would I think I was hallucinating?  Would I dismiss it all as a dream?  Would anyone believe me if I told them?  But Joseph did not question at all.  He simply obeyed.

It is common to honor Mary and hold her in high regard, especially at Christmas time, but I’ve never yet heard a sermon or seen a devotional on Joseph!  He just sort of melted out of the telling of the history of the Christ child.  But these past few days since being impacted by his lifestyle of obedience, I have been challenged anew to follow Christ in complete and humble obedience–in the spirit of Joseph!


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