December 16, 2016
Luke 2:18-21, 24
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
There are many Scriptures we could use for Joseph, but I present this one from Luke 2:18 through 21 and 24:
When…Mary was betrothed to Joseph…she was found with child of the
Holy Spirit. Then Joseph…being a just man, and not wanting to make
her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. But while
he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared
to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to
take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the
Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a son, and you shall call his name
JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.” …Then Joseph,
being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him,
and took to him his wife….
I find it interesting that of the 17 times that Joseph is mentioned in the gospels, not once do we read of him uttering a word! But the one thing that stands out to me is Joseph’s obedience! I believe this is what marks the step father of Jesus as a great man.
• Matthew 1:19 – In this first mention of Joseph, it says in verse 19 that he was “…a just man….” According to Strong’s Greek Dictionary, just means: “equitable (in character or act); by implication innocent, holy (absolutely or relatively)….” In other words, Joseph was a man who lived a holy life before God! He was righteous because he trusted in the promises the Lord had revealed in His Scriptures!
This is exactly the same way God has declared men and women righteous ever since the beginning when sin entered into creation! Back in Joseph’s day, people only had the Old Testament, and promises that God would send His Messiah to redeem His people! (See for instance Isaiah 9:6, 7; 53:1-12; Zechariah 9:9, 10). Adam and Eve just had Genesis 3:15 to believe. God told the serpent, “…I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.” Today, we have both a multitude of Old Testament prophecies and their fulfillment in the New Testament! But it is still the same way God redeems people – by believing what He has revealed! As Paul wrote in Romans 4:22, 24 and 25:
…righteousness…shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised
up Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was delivered up because of our
offenses, and was raised because of our justification.
• Matthew 1:18, 19 – Joseph was a kind-hearted man! These verses tell us that “…Mary was found with child…[and] Mary was betrothed to Joseph….” Betrothal (engagement) was such a binding contract in those days that it could only be broken by divorce! The normal way to deal with such a scandal was to publicly proclaim the woman’s unfaithfulness, and then to have her stoned to death! (See Leviticus 20:10; Deuteronomy 22:22-24; John 8:5). But Joseph, it says in verse 19, “…not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privately.” Even though he believed Mary to be unfaithful to him and to God, he wanted to spare her public embarrassment and death!
Are we kind-hearted as was Joseph? Such a characteristic is to be a mark of a true Christian!
✞ Psalm 117:2 shows us being kind is one of God’s attributes: “…His merciful kindness is great toward us, and the truth of the LORD endures forever.”
✞ Godly (agape) love in I Corinthians 13:4 and 5 (English Standard Version): “…
is kind and patient, never jealous, boastful, proud, or rude.”
✞ Kindness is the fifth manifestation listed of the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22 and 23 (New King James Version).
✞ Ephesians 4:22 tells us, “…be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ also forgave you.”
✞ In II Peter 1:5 through 7, Peter tells us to add certain characteristics to our Christian life: “…add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.”
• What about Joseph’s obedience?
✞ Matthew 1:20 through 24 – After “…an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream…,” telling him to accept Mary as his wife – baby Jesus and all – we are told in verse 24, “Then Joseph, being roused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him….”
✞ Matthew 2:13 and 14 – Again, “…an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream…” telling him to flee with his family to Egypt to escape King Herod’s murderous intent! (See Matthew 2:14, 16). It simply says in verse 15, “When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt.”
✞ Matthew 2:19 it is recorded, “When Herod was dead…an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt…,”and told him to go back to Israel. We read no word of argument or question from Joseph. But in verse 21 it simply says, “Then he arose, took the young Child and His mother, and came into the land of Israel.”
✞ Matthew 2:22 – “…he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea in the place of his father Herod….And being warned of God in a dream, [Joseph obeyed and]…turned aside into the region of Galilee.”
✞ Joseph obeyed the “…decree…from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered.” (Luke 2:1-5); even though it meant a 90 mile trip to Bethlehem with a very pregnant wife!
✞ He also obeyed the Jewish law to circumcise Jesus on the eighth day (see Leviticus 12:3; Luke 2:21), and to dedicate Him at the Jerusalem temple 40 days after His birth (see Leviticus 12:4-8, Luke 2:22).
✞ Joseph was obedient to what is written in Deuteronomy 11:18 and 19, “…teaching [all the Godly laws]…to your children….” For it says in Luke 2:51 and 52 that Jesus “…went down with [His parents]…and was subject to them….And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.”
We are told in Mark 12:30, “…you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.” But Jesus tells us in John 14:15, “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” Or, “If you love Me, obey Me!” Do you love Jesus? Do you obey Him?