Philip went to look for Nathanael and told him, “We have found the very person Moses and the prophets wrote about! His name is Jesus, the son of Joseph from Nazareth.” “Nazareth!” exclaimed Nathanael. “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” (John 1:45-46)
One of the most interesting and little known persons in Jesus’ family was Joseph, his earthly father. Joseph was a simple carpenter who had little money, no kingdom, and no glory. But he loved his neighbors, walked in humility before God, and possessed a faith that looked beyond the human to the divine.
What a shock it must have been to mild-mannered Joseph when he learned that Mary, to whom he was betrothed, was pregnant. The Bible says: “This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. Joseph, her fiancé, was a good man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly.” (Matthew 1:18-19 NLT)
Joseph faced a terrible dilemma! What should he do? He loved Mary, but the news of her pregnancy was devastating. Before Joseph could break the engagement privately “an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. ‘Joseph, son of David,’ the angel said, ‘do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:20-21, cf. Isa 7:14)
Joseph had nothing the world would admire today. But throughout eternity he will be known as a man of faith, mercy, humility, and service—qualities that constitute greatness in the eyes of God.
God is still looking for men and women of courage who are faithful followers of Jesus Christ. What better gift could we give to our blessed Savior this Christmas than a new commitment to follow in the steps of Joseph?
Prayer: Dear Lord, it is refreshing in this world of wickedness to see a man like Joseph who never shirked his responsibilities and was a just man.