A Righteous Man
Lord, in the birth and life and death of Jesus, Your Word is plain. May I hear and respond gladly to him.
Read Matthew 1:18-25
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Reflect on the example of Joseph and the outworking of righteousness in family relationships.
This account of the birth of Jesus concentrates on the role of Joseph, “a righteous man” (19), whose own vivid memories of these events may have been the source of Matthew’s nativity story. The Protestant tradition has often failed to recognize the importance of Mary’s wonderful faith and obedient submission to the will of God—and the role played by Joseph at the beginning of the Gospel has been even more overlooked. He was “betrothed” to Mary (18, NASB), a status reflecting an agreement between two families regarding the marriage of the couple; the woman remained in her father’s house during this period and no sexual intercourse took place, but the relationship was binding and much stronger than the modern practice of engagement.
Consider Joseph’s dilemma! The discovery of a partner’s unfaithfulness always brings pain, a profound sense of betrayal and hurt and an anger that is difficult to control. In Jewish village culture it threatened public humiliation for both Mary and her intended husband, who would lose face in this situation. Yet Joseph’s righteousness is displayed in his compassionate concern for his young bride: he “did not want to expose her to public disgrace” (19). However, before he can execute his plan to “divorce her quietly,” God intervenes with the assurance that the conception is the work of the Holy Spirit and Joseph (with a faith and obedience no less than that of his young bride) takes the pregnant Mary into his home as his wife and cares for her until the birth of the child, to whom he gives the name Jesus (25).
As we approach Christmas, let us honor the faith and kindness of righteous Joseph, who surely models a form of male identity characterized by compassion, gentleness and submission to the will of God from which we need to learn today.
How would you feel in Joseph’s place in verse 19? In verses 20 and 21? What would you say to family and friends? To God?
Father, I am humbled to read about Joseph, a godly man. May I aspire, above all else, to be a godly person, for Your glory.