Part 8 of a series counting down daily to Christmas and the Messiah’s birth.
What would you have done? You’ve just been devastated by your fiancé’s confession; she is pregnant, and it couldn’t possibly be yours. Then, as if that wasn’t bad enough, she swears she hasn’t been with another man. “So how in the world could you be pregnant,” you ask her. She says, “It’s from God, through the power of the Holy Spirit.” You respond with, “Sure, yeah, okay.” Then you get angry, yell, and walk out forever. Calling off the wedding is a no brainer.
How about this option; you choose to be gentle, considerate, and righteous. You’ll end the engagement, but discreetly, so as not do embarrass her with pubic disgrace. Sound good? No? But that’s exactly what Joseph did. He knew Mary had wronged him; he was torn apart and broken hearted. But in place of vengeance he chose compassion. Instead of getting even he pardoned her from shame and scandal. Only a truly righteous man could do that, one who chooses what’s best for someone in spite of what they’ve done to him. Isn’t that what Jesus did for us? Is it any wonder God chose Joseph to be His son’s earthly father?
Then the angel came.”Don’t be afraid Joseph, you can wholeheartedly embrace Mary as your virgin bride, for the child she carries is from the Holy Spirit.” It was good that Joseph got this in a dream, if he had been awake, he might have fainted, fallen, and forgotten the whole thing.
Joseph woke and did exactly as the angel said; he took Mary home as his wife. Imagine how she felt in that moment? Part of Joseph’s righteousness was measured by how he honored the angel’s message. Even though they were together as husband and wife, he didn’t consummate his marriage, for Mary must be a virgin when the Messiah was born. He was a good man.
I worship Jesus as Lord of Lords and King of Kings; he is the Son of David and Savior of the world. But some 2,000 years ago, in a sleepy little village, it almost ended before it started. Any less of a man would have walked away, angel or not, and Mary might have been stoned to death for adultery.
In this season of the Messiah’s birth, I’m grateful for Joseph, for who he was and what he did. We don’t know much about him. But I beleive he was a wonderful man of God, with a heart of gold, and heaven’s choice to be the Messiah’s earthly father. Thank you Joseph.