By Greg Steele
Pastor, First Baptist Church, Jasper
In my younger days, I was part of several plays/musicals. It was always the main roles that people desired. It wasn’t too often that you found a small role that had a great impact. However, that is not the case in the story of Joseph.
There is not a lot about Joseph contained in Scripture. He is only mentioned in regard to the events surrounding Jesus’ birth. But what we discover is that Joseph was a man worth imitating.
The man God handpicked to be the earthly dad to His only Son in His developmental years would be vital to His plan.
The area of Joseph’s life that we should all seek to imitate is not only his obedience, but also his righteousness and love.
Verse 19 describes Joseph as a “righteous man.” A righteous man is someone who wants to do right in every area of life. When he found out that Mary was pregnant, he assumed that she had been unfaithful to him in their engagement.
He was going to seek a “divorce” from her according to v. 19. “Send her away” is the Greek word “apolusai” which is the word Jesus used in Matthew 5 for divorce. So, Joseph was going to do the right thing and end the relationship with her.
An interesting thing to me is found in the second part of v. 19. He didn’t want to embarrass her, so he was going to divorce her secretly. That tells us a lot about Joseph, not only was he righteous, but he also cared for and loved Mary. He was not going to throw her to the street and make her out to be a bad woman.
One of the hardest things for us to do as Christians today is to hold up the standards of the Word of God. Regardless of what society says we should to do it in love and with compassion. Our society is constantly trying to drag the church down to its level. There is so much pressure today for churches to compromise in areas the world says are okay.
As believers, our standard is not the world, but the Word of God. We must always seek to hold to the teachings of the Word of God. We need to learn to follow the example of Joseph by doing everything with sensitivity and love.
Joseph was doing with Mary what he thought needed to be done. It was the holy and righteous thing to do, but he wasn’t going to dishonor her or be mean to her. He would send her away secretly.
Upholding God’s standards regardless of the situation with a loving and compassionate heart is one of the most difficult tasks of the Christian life.
Joseph is a great example to us, of how to live a life of holiness and love towards other people. However, Joseph wasn’t perfect.
Just like us, Joseph needed a Savior and that’s why God sent us His Son who “would save His people from their sins.”