Joseph’s role in the Christmas story is sometimes downplayed, but if we stop to think about it, Joseph was a pretty incredible man. On this Marriage Monday, I’d like to look at Joseph as a husband.
Joseph and Mary were engaged and the Jewish people of the day took commitments seriously. In order to not follow through with the marriage, Joseph would need to divorce Mary. But when Joseph found out that his sweet, beloved little Mary was pregnant, he resolved to divorce her quietly, as not to humiliate her. What a contrast to today! An attitude of “getting what I deserve” and “I’ll show her,” which we would find totally normal today, seem to play no part in Joseph’s response. His fiance was pregnant and he knew he wasn’t the father! We’d certainly allow him a little righteous indignation. Even in the face of what he naturally perceived as betrayal, Joseph showed great concern and respect for Mary (See Matthew 1: 18-25).
Now you could argue that Joseph did get a rather personal message from the Lord! But let us not think that we would be more committed to our spouses (even in circumstances where we’ve been wronged or think we’ve been wronged) if the Lord sent us an angel. Because if you are married, then you promised before God to love your spouse till death do you part. I better not need an angel to remind me of my own promise.
None of us are going to face Joseph’s challenge of marrying a pregnant virgin, or trying to be the leader of a household that includes God in human flesh. But we can still model Joseph’s commitment and humility in our own marriages. We can adopt his loving heart and his lack of concern for self. A revolutionary idea! Imagine the impact: spouses everywhere who are committed, humble, loving and selfless.
Lord Jesus, help me each day to be like Joseph: committed, humble, loving, and selfless.
[Love] always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1 Corinthians 13:7