The New Testament’s unsung hero (2 of 3) – Rod Anderson

The angel could have appeared to Joseph when Mary was telling him her story for the first time, vindicating everything said, but no, that did not happen. If transmitted that way, it would have saved both Mary and Joseph a lot of anger, sorrow and heartache.

Yet God allowed Joseph to feel troubled. He permitted him to be immersed with emotions of isolation and crushing disappointment. Does this mean that God had forsaken Joseph? No. Does it mean that God enjoyed putting Joseph to the test? No. However, God wanted to fit Joseph for the work He had planned for him, because it would need a unique man to be the earthly father of the world’s Saviour.

There is no way to separate wheat from the straw but to thresh it. There is no way to purify gold but to burn it. The darkest part of the night is just before the dawn, and Joseph was tested, he had to wait for the answer, it didn’t come immediately, but when it came he was told to trust in God, because the One who holds the universe in the palm of His hand knows His children well, and for the salvation of the human race Joseph would play a pivotal role.

Think about the emotions surging through Joseph during the period of the ordeal described in Matthew chapter one. Feelings of uncertainty and disappointment, but God had been preparing him to be the guardian of His Own Dear Son, and has any man ever had a greater responsibility?

His role in the establishment of Christianity is unique, for it was he who saw the Savior born into the world. It was Joseph who cradled Jesus in his arms, it was Joseph who saw the first steps of the toddler Jesus. Joseph felt Jesus’s arms wrap around his own waist when they were playing together, or felt that little hand nestle itself in his as they walked together. It was Joseph who first taught Jesus how to bridle a donkey, and to hold the wooden handle of a saw in the carpenter’s shop. Joseph’s experience is unique among men, yet his prayer during this testing time may have been, “Why me God, why have You allowed this to happen to me?”

While Joseph was adjudged a just man which directly describes his spiritual standing before God, as is the case today, true spirituality encompasses the whole man in whatever activity and setting one finds oneself. For Joseph being a just man from the earthly perspective, meant he had a good reputation, he was a competent tradesman, people respected him, and why not? He was from the tribe of Judah and a descendant from the house of David. Young people looked up to him, his peers saw him as successful, and the older people viewed Joseph as a man with great potential.

Nevertheless, when Joseph made the decision to marry Mary it cost him everything. His reputation was ruined, his good name was soiled. If the Child was Josephs it meant Joseph had acted immorally and deceitfully. It meant he was a fornicator. If the Child was not Josephs, but another mans and Joseph was simply being chivalrous, in effect he was a fool who was marrying a shameless Jewish minx, and he was not the man people thought him to be.

Whatever conclusion was cast upon the situation by Joseph’s peers, the end result would be the same, Joseph was at fault. His name would become an epithet for foolishness or impropriety. His trade and financial situation would suffer, he would be ostracized by his family, and likely have been cast out of the synagogue.

Yet Joseph was prepared to sacrifice his good name to obey God, and we know that to be the case as we turn to Matthew 13:53-56, and we read of Jesus’ second rejection in His hometown of Nazareth.

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