Matthew 1:18-25 (NIV)
18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about[a]: 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. 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet[b] did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
20 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. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus,[c] because he will save his people from their sins.”
22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).
24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.
Matthew 2:13-15 (NIV)
13 When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”
14 So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15 where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”
In both of these passages, we learn about Joseph’s character, specifically his obedience. Upon receiving a command from God concerning taking Mary as his wife… and then later taking the child out of danger…he obeyed.
These short passages communicate a lot about Joseph. He receives a command and he obeys. No debating. No delaying. Just immediate and complete obedience. Would Joseph’s obedience bring hardship? Probably. And danger? No doubt. But still, he obeyed. And so must we when we commit to listening to God and following his commands.
Joseph was obedient, but he was also a loyal man. When he made his decision to wed Mary, he knew he would face public ridicule. After all, how could he explain the situation? And who would believe the story anyway? But Joseph was willing to face the critics. If people condemned Mary, they would have to condemn him as well.
Think about this, too: Joseph was also careful to take Mary with him when he went to Bethlehem to register and pay his taxes. He could have gone alone. Her presence wasn’t required. But, Joseph knew that if he left her behind, he would not be able to protect her from further ridicule.
Obedience and loyalty was a way of life for Joseph. So, what can we learn from these passages? We can start by asking ourselves some questions:
Am I caring and sensitive? Do I only look out for myself, or do I have concern about the needs of others?
Am I obedient? Do I seek after the things of God?
Am I loyal? Do I stick by my family and friends during the tough times? Even maybe to suffer ridicule for their sake?
Do I look out for those who are weaker than I am? Do I have a positive moral code?
Learning to do these things will take work. But Joseph gives us a great example. We can only do this through asking God every day for wisdom and for strength.
Thanks for listening!
– Joe and Todd