“The deceitfulness of the heart of man appears in no one thing so much as this of spiritual pride and self-righteousness.”
~ Jonathan Edwards
When the nativity story is told, we mostly hear about Mary, the mother of Jesus. For centuries, Mary has been extolled and honored, as she should be. Joseph, however, has often been regarded as a mere footnote to the story.
Today, I’d like to give Joseph his due.
By my lights, Joseph was one of the most righteous men who ever lived. Now when most modern Christians think of a “righteous man,” they think of things like being a good husband, a patient father, a trusted and successful employee who lives a good clean life (doesn’t “smoke, drink, chew or run with those who do,” as the old saying goes), and so on.
I have no doubts that Joseph was upright in the area of personal piety. But the Bible gives us a much deeper peek at what a righteous person is and how he or she reacts to certain situations. Consider Matthew 1:19-20:
Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to put her away quietly. 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.”
Matthew says that because Joseph was a righteous man, he chose not to publicly disgrace and shame Mary, even though (according to his knowledge at the time) she deserved it.[Continue Reading…]