During this time of year, it’s not uncommon to frequently hear the nativity story. This is s a good thing because it reminds us of the reason that we are celebrating and the sacrifices that Christ made in coming down to Earth. One of the participants in the story, however, often seems to be overlooked. Joseph, Mary’s betrothed, is the man who raised Jesus – a child who was not his own. While we often focus on Mary’s response to Christ’s arrival, how Joseph reacted is instructive for us as well.
When you think about it (and I mean really think about it), Mary knew that the Son she was carrying came from God and not from human conception. She knew where she had been, what she had participated in, and if she was pregnant she knew it had to be the result of God’s divine will. Joseph, however, had to take this on faith. He had to rely on the veracity of both the angel’s testimony, and his finance’s word. Many of us, I’m afraid, would not have responded as obediently as Joseph did. We would have asked for proof – some sort of verification that Christ’s really was the result of divine intervention. But Joseph didn’t. As Scripture tells us, he simply “he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife” (Matthew 1:24).
He obeyed, even though everything in his culture would say he shouldn’t, even though he was risking his reputation, his place in the community, and his family’s future, he acted in accordance with God’s Word.
And this wouldn’t be the only time Joseph readily obeyed. When an angel appeared to him, telling him to take Mary and Jesus to Egypt, Joseph got up in the middle of the night and started on their way. He didn’t wait to figure out the best season to travel, or to take the time to consult relatives and officials.
When God spoke, Joseph did what He said without equivocation, without delay, and without consideration of how obedience would affect him and his dreams and plans.
May we all as readily obey what God speaks.