An Act of Love
"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."
In the beautiful story of our Lord's birth, there is a main character who is often overlooked. While there is much written about the life of Mary, Jesus' stepfather, Joseph, gets less attention. We can learn so much from this role model.
In this passage of scripture we see Joseph wrestling with the difficult and painful decision of what to do about the unexpected pregnancy of Mary, the one he is engaged to. Under the law there were several options available to him.
"If a young woman who is a virgin is betrothed to a husband, and a man finds her in the city and lies with her, then you shall bring them both out to the gate of that city, and you shall stone them to death with stones, the young woman because she did not cry out in the city, and the man because he humbled his neighbor's wife; so you shall put away the evil from among you." (Deut. 22:23-24)
This passage describes how a woman is to be stoned for her actions or inactions. Another option Joseph had was to quietly divorce her, but he chose neither. The action he chose revealed what kind of man he really was and how much love he had for Mary. How he displayed his fear of the Lord and his desire to obey Him. All of which stands as examples of healthy character traits for us in our marriage.
Joseph exhibited righteousness. His desire was to please God rather than do what was legally allowed. Joseph had a deep sensitivity and compassion. In spite of the humiliation he undoubtedly thought he would be exposed to, he had a deeper concern for Mary's well-being. He did not want her to be publicly disgraced, and most importantly his desire was to be obedient to God. When he received instructions from the angel of God, Joseph immediately did as he was told. No hesitation; only obedience.
"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.' When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife." (Matt. 1:20-21;24)
Joseph serves as a wonderful example for us when we are faced with situations that don't always go as planned. We are to give grace to our spouse. To forgive and love and be compassionate. And most of all, obey God and follow His will.
I love you & He loves you more!
P.S. Did you know that there is not a word recorded that Joseph spoke? He heard the instruction of the Lord either through an angel or in a dream. Upon receiving that instruction he did what the Lord commanded. Let's be a Joseph.
Lord, Thank You for the role model of this humble man. Fill me with a heart of love and compassion and help me to be more sensitive when it comes to the matter of the heart in my marriage. In Jesus' name. Amen.