Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Christ, but it also serves to enlighten us regarding the unfolding of God’s plan to bring Christ into the world. Among the many lessons, we see Mary as a model mother and Joseph as an excellent example. Greatness is not always recognized, but when you realize that out of all the men on earth God chose Joseph to be a father to His Son you know there is something special about a man like that. I believe he serves as an excellent example for all those who would serve the Lord. Considering what we’re told about his character we would be wise to consider his story.
I. HIS DISCOVERY— Matt. 1:18
Upon Mary’s return from her visit with Elisabeth, Joseph discovered that she is pregnant. Imagine what a devastating blow that shocking discovery would be! Having your dreams shattered like that would be difficult to deal with. In this we see a harsh commentary on life. Things don’t always happen as we plan or expect. So, what do you do when your dream turns into a nightmare?
II. HIS DILEMMA— Matt. 1:19-23
A. His Reasoning–vs. 19. He could have stoned her, but he decided to give her a bill of divorcement as allowed in Deut. 24:1. However, not wanting to hurt her or embarrass her he reasoned it would be best to deal with the matter privately. Remember, at this point he didn’t have all the facts and was unaware of the fact that God was at work behind the scenes.
B. His Revelation– vs. 20-23. It came while he was thinking (vs. 20). Fortunately he didn’t react without thinking as some do. As he was thinking, God shed light on the subject and revealed that this was a fulfillment of the O.T. prophecies.
III. HIS DECISION— Matt. 1:24
Armed with the facts Joseph made the wise choice. He embraced God’s plan and was properly married to Mary. He did so although he knew it would subject him to the scorn of unbelievers and the duties of fatherhood. He made this decision out of love for God and Mary– factors that should govern all our decisions.
IV. HIS DEDICATION— Matt. 1:25
This is revealed in his—
A. Attitude– which we just mentioned.
B. Abstinence– Knowing she was to be a virgin, he complied with God’s plan. He was willing to deny himself to please God. That’s what true greatness is all about.
C. Announcement– “he called his name JESUS”
This was an act of obedience that required courage and confidence–faith in God.
D. Actions afterward– He fulfilled his role as a father and carried out his God-given mission. Read on and you will see the qualities that made him an excellent example for all of us. He was just (vs. 19), compassionate (vs. 19), prudent (vs. 20), obedient (vs. 24), courageous (vs. 24), disciplined (vs. 25), a man of faith (vs.25), and committed (2:13-15).
God has given to each of us a work to do and if we make ourselves available He will make us able. There is a place in God’s plans for each of us, if we will but submit ourselves to Him. Here is an excellent example, the rest is up to you. You can receive it or reject it, but you cannot escape being responsible for your choice.–HDS