Joseph: The Right Kind of Father + Husband

What can we learn from Joseph's brief narrative in the Gospels?  The right posture of a heart.

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"Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and he did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly."
-Matthew 1:19

We don't hear much from Joseph, do we?  We have this narrative of when Jesus was told to Mary and Joseph, Jesus's birth, and then when Jesus stays behind at the Temple during Passover when He was 12 years old. After that, Joseph is gone, assumed to have passed sometime between Joseph being 12 and 30 when He began his public ministry.

And yet, Joseph is so profound to me.  Here we have the earthly man God chose to be His Son's father.  We get caught up in the narrative of Mary, and it's a great one, don't get me wrong, but we tend to overlook Joseph.

Sounds a bit like modern society overlooking father's, but I digress.

Matthew 1:19 is one of my favorite passages on Joseph.  Here, we see his heart for Mary.

Here he was, engaged to this young girl, basically as good as married, just hadn't consecrated the marriage and gone through the ceremony, and she comes up pregnant.

Now according to the law, and not just the civilian law, but the Jewish law, the law of their faith, Joseph could've done much more than just quietly divorce her.

Yet here he was, with a heart that saw her humanity beyond being property, and choosing that the best response was to quietly divorce her.  Not shame her, not stone her, but give her as much dignity as he could.

It sounds like the exact type of person God would have chosen to train up Jesus.

We see his heart continue to unfold, too.  In verses 24-25, after the angel Gabriel visits Joseph to share that this is the Messiah to be named Jesus, the Word says Joseph "did what the angel of the Lord had commanded and took Mary home as his wife.  But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son.  And he gave Him the name Jesus."

His response was obedience.  His response was nobility to even see Mary's experience as sacred and not to be tainted by their consummation of the marriage.

How noble is that, to choose to continue to wait to have sex until after she gave birth?

So here is to Joseph - an under-celebrated person who showed men what a heart of sacrifice and obedience to God first looks like in the overflow to his wife and children.

I'm praying I can be more like Joseph.

Michael Tatonetti