Almost every good story includes both leading and supporting actors. The Biblical narrative surrounding Jesus’ birth is no exception. Yesterday we looked at a leading actor—Mary. Today we’re considering a supporting actor—Joseph. Although Mary had the larger role, Joseph was right there with her, helping her all the way.
Let’s look at Matthew’s record of Jesus’ birth.
18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).
24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.
Matthew 1:18-25 (NIV)
Although Mary’s role was larger, Joseph’s part was by no means easy or trivial. He made the difficult choice to take Mary as his wife even though her child was not his. Imagine how much more challenging her role would have been if Joseph had refused to go through with their marriage. Joseph also provided for and protected Mary and Jesus (see Matthew 2). He was a loyal husband to Mary, a loving father to Jesus, and he faithfully fulfilled the task that God had given him.
God has given each of us a role to play. Some roles seem large, while others appear small. All are important. God doesn’t want us to focus on the perceived size or significance of the tasks He gives us. Rather, He wants us to focus on Him and to fulfill our roles faithfully. If we depend on Him, God will enable us to do what He has asked us to do, just as Joseph faithfully fulfilled his role as Mary’s husband and Jesus’ earthly father.
Reflection and Discussion
- Whom do you admire as a person who faithfully fulfills his or her God-given role in life?
- What can you learn from that person?
Thank You for Joseph’s example of faithfulness. Thank You that he willingly served and supported both Mary and Jesus. Sometimes we struggle to do what we know You want us to do. In those times please help us to turn to You for strength, courage, and a willing heart. By Your grace may we follow You faithfully, just as Joseph did.