The statement startled me some years ago. "Nobody talks about the courage of Joseph".
Some elderly and endearing Christian friends of mine from a previous church I attended, discussed with me the above statement over an evening meal and it has never left me since. There is true character of a quiet hard-working man as a given but I ponder how this man Joseph, Mary’s husband to-be bestowed a spiritual gritty leadership that we can glean from. He had loyalty and an honourable “Do whatever it may take” attitude. Of course I am not understating his indignation of Mary’s news from the get-go. The bible has little to say overall about my guy but in Matthew 1:19 it describes Joseph as righteous. We, including myself bounce along into the rest of the nativity story but rarely take pause of this moment that he is shouldered next to some big names of the Bible.
Noah – “Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God” (Genesis 6:9)
Abraham – “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness – and he was called a friend of God” (James 2:21)
Job – “And the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil” (Job 1:8)
King David – “and yet you have not been like my servant David, who kept my commandments and followed me with all his heart, doing only that which was right in my eyes” (1 Kings 14:8)
Joseph really is a great listener too – He obeys God’s direction to still marry her and take her to where the Christ would be born despite his initial feelings of understandable confusion. Obedience didn’t stop there when the angel of the Lord told him to flee to Egypt in the dead of night to keep mother and child safe and to “remain there until I tell you” (Matthew 2:13). Finally according to the text he takes his family marching orders onward to the city of Nazareth in Israel to full-fill what the prophets spoke that he (Jesus) would be called the Nazarene.
This biblical character like any other should not be with aim to emulate that person specifically but to remember to whom they are pointing. We are imputed with Christ’s righteousness so it is to him we look for our ultimate example. Joseph had a very simple life by the looks but look at what God did through him.
We can all learn from this man of small courage.