Joseph. The man we tend to forget. The man who had to decide to do the unthinkable.
Bringing to my attention his supporting actor role in the most important birth in history, I felt as if I had left him out of much of the casting. This wasn’t done to belittle his career but the focus was elsewhere.
Mary was a chosen woman. One with an appointment like none other. How would any man be able to live up to the standards of the mother of the Son of God? How would any man be able to do what he was asked to do without some hesitation on his part?
Granted, Mary’s role wasn’t easy by any means but neither was Joseph’s. Over the centuries Mary has been given the lead actor’s position in a drama only God could have written, but Mary couldn’t have fulfilled her heroic purpose without Joseph.
One might refer to Joseph as the back-up guy, or Mary’s support system.
First he had to accept her pregnancy without understanding it. But who would believe such a story?
He had to fight off crowds of accusers for the lie she supposedly was telling.
He lost friends. Coworkers. Acquaintances.
How does a soon- to- be groom explain to his family his betrothed is pregnant by another man?
Yet, Joseph stood against the odds and accepted Mary as his soon- to- be wife in the midst of a presumed scandalous affair.
And Joseph thought this was the hard part.
After God revealed to Joseph in a dream Mary was indeed telling the truth, he would embark on a journey no other man has ever taken.
Matthew 1:20 But after he had considered 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 home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.
How does a man protect the mother- to- be of the Lamb of God?
How does a man walk on foot across miles and miles of treacherous terrain leading his wife who is in her last trimester of pregnancy carrying the Light of the World on a donkey?
And then how does a man who probably had never witnessed a woman giving birth aid in giving birth to the King of the Jews?
Not only were these all “firsts” for Joseph, but he had no other place to take her but a smelly, old hay filled manger with cows and goats watching.
Was that what Joseph had planned for his new bride?
Was this the scene he wanted his legacy to be built upon?
Was this Joseph’s idea of a birthing place for the Prince of Peace? The Anointed One? Emanuel?
My thinking is he never had time to fully comprehend the enormity of it all before it happened.
They had to leave town immediately to escape Herod’s henchmen.
Joseph didn’t have time to find a Marriott Hotel for the birth; he had to take what was available.
And babies are born on their own schedule. Joseph wasn’t given a crash course in midwifery.
Had God given Joseph a heads up a few years prior to this extraordinary story, would he have skipped town?
Would he have asked, “God, I’m not the man for this job, please find someone else?
If Joseph had thought it through would he have understood the magnitude of his calling?
If he had let it all sink in would he have taken on the fatherhood of the child who would one day be his Savior?
Joseph, the quiet man standing in the shadows probably spent the rest of his earthly life pondering the marvel of it all.
Matthew 1:16 and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, and Mary was the mother of Jesus who is called the Messiah.