A lesson: Matthew 1:18-25
Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. But just when he had resolved to do 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 as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means, “God is with us.” When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife, but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son; and he named him Jesus.
We don’t know a lot about Joseph. People wonder if he was much older than Mary. People wonder if he had been widowed previously and had children from that previous marriage. People wonder if he died early on in Jesus’ life, like sometime in his adolescence or early adulthood.
When it comes to Joseph, there are lots of questions that we just don’t have the answers to.
But, there’s one thing that we are sure of: he was a good man.
He could have, according to Old Testament law, have had Mary stoned when he learned that she was pregant. He could have just picked up and left. He could have dragged her reputation through the gutter.
And, quite frankly, no one would have blamed him one bit.
He was such a good man though that he first tried to have her quietly dismissed. He was certainly hurt and angry, but he wasn’t going to take those feelings out on her.
He was also a good man, in that when God told him in a dream that Mary’s child was in fact God’s child, he stuck with her – and God. He willingly chose to become Jesus’ adopted father, and he kept Jesus and his family safe when the government was trying to hunt down Jesus to kill him.
This we know: Joseph is the good and righteous husband of Mary and the attentive and protective father of Our Lord. I don’t know about you, but he makes me wonder if I could ever be as good, as faithful, and as steadfast.
O God, who from the family of your servant David raised up Joseph to be the guardian of your incarnate Son and the spouse of his virgin mother: Give us grace to imitate his uprightness of life and his obedience to your commands; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. (The Book of Common Prayer)