“Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily.” –
In Matthew 1, we see Joseph described by God as a just man. How cool is that! I did some deeper digging, and here’s what I found.
When Mary told Joseph that she was pregnant, imagine the things that ran through his mind! Yet, through it all, he kept a level head. Even though he was going to “put her away”, he did not publicly humiliate her. After an angel told him that what she had conceived was of the Holy Spirit, he stayed committed to his fiance.
Characteristic #1– Joseph had commitment
I’m assuming that it took a lot of guts to keep his relationship with Mary without sinning against her when others began to talk bad about her or Joseph. Even when everyone who didn’t know what happened assumed the worst and likely made their thoughts known to Mary and Joseph, he stayed committed to the work that God had started.
Characteristic #2– Joseph listened for God
While he was deciding what to do about Mary, an angel came to him and told him that the child had been conceived by the Holy Spirit. Instead of doubting what the angel said, Joseph continued to obey God and press forward. Later, after Jesus had been born, another angel visited and told Joseph that he and Mary needed to flee immediately to Egypt because Herod wanted to kill Him. In both cases, Joseph was attune to God and what He had to say. This is a great example of how we should live.
Characteristic #3– Joseph was characterized by obedience to God
Despite all the rumors swirling around about Mary, Joseph remained loyal to her and to God. He trusted God and obeyed Him without question. Later, Joseph was told to leave because Herod wanted Jesus dead:
“Now when they [the wise men] had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, ‘Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him.'”
What did Joseph do? Take a look:
“When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt.”
I’ve moved from state to state several times in my life. Each time was stressful, time consuming, and required much preparation before hand.
Yet, Joseph leaves for Egypt as soon as he awoke from his dream. Talk about immediate obedience! That’s what God required of us.
It really struck me that the Bible referred to him as a just man. That was a flag for me to dig deeper and see what that meant. I hope you were able to glean something from this as well!