DECEMBER 14, 2023

“. . . and Joseph . . . being a righteous man . . .” (Matthew 1:19, NASB)

Joseph Was Also a Model of Faith

The grounds for belief and disbelief are the same today as they were two thousand or ten thousand years ago. If Joseph had lacked the faith to trust God or [the] humility to perceive the holiness of his spouse, he could have disbelieved in the miraculous origin of her son as easily as any modern man; and any modern man who believes God can accept the miracle as easily as Joseph did.” —C. S. Lewis

Each figurine of the traditional nativity set represents a significant portion of the Christmas narrative, whether it be the wonder and worship of the shepherds, the obedience of Mary, the proclamation of the angels, or the submission of Christ to His Father’s will. One of the most neglected figures of the Nativity, however, is Joseph. Physically bypassed by the miraculous conception and virgin birth, he is nevertheless a significant role model of a faithful man. The following four character traits of his maturity provide a great pattern for our own continuing growth in the faith.

First, Joseph was unblameable in his character. Matthew calls Joseph a righteous man. Joseph was careful to maintain personal fidelity with regard to Mary and integrity in relationship to God.

Second, Joseph was unselfish in his contemplation. He modeled a servant’s heart in both his purity and in his mercy. His purity is seen in his plan to divorce himself from Mary and thus separate himself from what appeared to be a sinful situation. Joseph’s mercy was evident by not seeking his own self-protection. He sought to privately do what he thought would be appropriate without a desire to publicly defame or disgrace Mary.

Third, Joseph was unbending in his control. By ensuring Mary remained a virgin until Jesus was born, he protected the validity of the Incarnation. To be married and yet restrain from physical intercourse showed the solid commitment of this righteous man.

Fourth, Joseph was unquestionable in his conduct. Joseph married Mary and named the Child exactly as the angel had instructed. That name would be Jesus “for He will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).

A righteous heart is always evidenced by an obedient life. May our continuing faith and obedience be our Christmas gift to the Savior this year.

Dr. Mark L. Bailey
Senior Professor of Bible Exposition