He is a forgotten man.
His role in history was significant, yet little is known about him and little is made of him. He is almost like an "extra" in a cast of famous characters. There are no religions built around him as was the case with his wife. He was never cannonized, or made a "saint".
He was of royal lineage, being a descendent of King David, yet he was a poor man by Bethlehem standards, as he only had 2 turtledoves to offer at the time of sacrifice...the lowest of offerings accepted.
When time came for he and his wife to go to Bethlehem to pay their taxes, he could not afford a suite at the Bethlehem Hilton. Instead, he was grateful for a warm dry stable for them to spend the night in as she was expecting her first child and the time of delivery was imminent.
No, he was not royalty. He was a simple carpenter. His name was Joseph.
In the CHRISTmas story, Mary gets all the notice....and all well deserved. But what about Joseph? Joseph's role was certainly significant too. After all, he was just as chosen to be Jesus's earthly father as Mary was to be his mother. No....an angel did not appear to him and call him out, nonetheless, he was handpicked by God for this extremely important role.
Joseph would be the one the little boy would look up to, the one He would follow around the carpenter shop, trying to hammer nails into scraps of wood. He would be the one Jesus would call "Abba". He would take him to the synagogue where the scriptures would be read and he would teach him about His Heavenly Father.
Joseph was obedient to His Father. When the angels appeared to him in a dream, telling him it was ok to take Mary for his wife, he obeyed. Most of us gloss over that when reading the CHRISTmas story. However, we do not realize what it must have cost Joseph to do that.
His wife-to-be was pregnant and she was not yet officially married. By Hebrew law, she could be stoned. Joseph wielded the power to have her stoned or to give her a bill of divorcement. His nature is revealed when scripture tells us that "he had a mind to put her away privately". But, after the angel appeared to him, he was to take her as his wife...."marry her but not know her intimately until she gave birth" (Matt. 1: 24, 25) Can you imagine what the townspeople must have said? Can you imagine the ridicule he must have endured to take this tainted woman as his bride? For surely no one believed her incredible story that she was with child by the Holy Spirit!!! Would YOU have believed her?!
I think Joseph really loved Mary. It could have been a pre-arranged marriage...the Bible does not really provide us with those details. But for him to have wanted to "put her away privately" tells me that Joseph was kind and that although he must have been terribly hurt by the news that she was pregnant, he did not want to harm her in any way...and that was BEFORE the angel appeared to him. His heart was tender toward her. He thought more of her than he did himself.
His love "suffered long and was kind." It was not selfish, nor easily provoked, not conceited or boastful. It bore a lot. It rejoiced in the real truth. He loved her with God's love. (I Cor. 13)
Joseph was the one who delivered Mary's baby...the very Son of God. He heard His first cry. He held him first. He provided for Him. He protected Him, again listening and obeying as the angel warned him in a dream to flee Herod.
Yes, Joseph is forgotten by many.....but NOT by God. God used Joseph in the life of Jesus in many different ways. But he was not there by accident. God chose Joseph to be Jesus's earthly father.
God also chose you and me to play the roles He has assigned to us. I am not my husband's wife by accident. God chose us for each other. I am not mother to my son and daughter by accident...God chose me to be their mother. I have a role to play in their lives and the most important thing I can do is to listen to my Heavenly Father, so that I, like Joseph, might be obedient in fulfilling the destiny He had for me from the foundation of the world. I might be insignificant on planet earth, but to God I have a purpose that only I can fulfill. However, I cannot fulfill it with out Him.
What is the role God has called YOU to? Are you trusting Him today to help you live out His plans for you, or are you fighting Him all the way? How different would the CHRISTmas story be today had Joseph refused to obey God? What if he had said he wanted no part of Mary? What would he have missed? It was not an easy role for him. He undoubtedly suffered much ridicule and hardship because of it. Yet he got to be a part of bringing the Son of God into the world, to hold Him in his arms, to cuddle Him close, to sing to Him, to teach Him to talk and how to hold a hammer and how to make a table. He walked with Him on a daily basis. Look at the blessings he would have missed had he said 'No' to God. What blessings will you miss if you say 'NO'?
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