Hebrews 11 is what is referred to as the ‘Hall of Faith’. To be sure, it is a great list and even comes with a disclaimer that it is not an ‘all-inclusive’ list. I would like to make a nomination to be added to the ‘Hall of Faith’.
Joseph, earthly father (or step-dad) of the Christ child. We always see Joseph portrayed as the man who became a dad to a child that wasn’t biologically his…and that is, in and of itself, very commendable but I think Joseph gets short-changed a little bit though. Mary is highly esteemed, especially by the catholic church and much emphasis is placed on her, but what about Joseph?
Let’s go back to the first of what we know…
He was of the lineage of David.
This is no small thing…I mean, a direct descendant of King David! (Luke 2:4) That carried with it a certain prestige I would think. But it also fulfilled prophecy regarding the coming Messiah. (Matthew 1:22)
Matthew reviews the lineage of Jesus and it reads almost like a ‘Hall of Faith’ all it’s own. I wonder what Rahab would have said if you told her that one of her descendants would be the Messiah?
He was well regarded by men.
Being of the lineage of David had something to do with this I am sure but the evidence of this comes through Mary in scripture if you use logical deduction.
Mary was a relative to Elizabeth who was the wife of a priest. (Luke 1:5) A close enough relative where she was welcome in the home for a stay of some months. I have to assume that Joseph was pretty well regarded, otherwise Mary’s family (having priests among them) would not have approved of her parents arranging a marriage with Joseph’s parents to Joseph. In those days, how society would regard a certain betrothal arrangement decided whether the arrangement even happened a lot of times.
He was well regarded by God.
To have God Almighty entrust you with His only begotten Son, God has to have a certain amount of confidence in you…lol. Just another example of God knowing who we are going to be regardless of who we are at the time.
Joseph wasn’t a random choice. God doesn’t do anything randomly…everything God does is according to His plan.
Matthew states how Joseph was known to be faithful to the law but that he also made his own decisions (Matthew 1:19.) The law was such that Mary, being with child prior to marriage, was to be publicly put out to save Joseph face. In this society, the reputations of the men were really the only reputations that mattered.
But, evidently, Joseph loved and cared for Mary personally. This was not always the case with arranged marriages. His compassion transcended his concern over the tarnishing of his reputation. This speaks volumes in regards to his character.
He was going to arrange for her to quietly disappear to keep from embarrassing her. Sounds like he would have made sure that her well-being and that of the child was taken care of. It doesn’t logically add up that he would ‘put her away quietly’ and deal with public opinion regarding that but not follow through with making sure they were cared for.
But he, at the prompting of the Angel of the Lord, decided to go ahead and take Mary as his wife.
Now, all of this, if we stopped right here, would be enough to hold Joseph in high estimation. But we haven’t even touched on what makes Joseph such a prime example and how we can learn and apply his faith to our lives…I will get into that in part 2…