Theme of the Week: Marriage
Bible Verse: “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. … When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.” Matthew 1:19, 24
Scripture Reading: Matthew 1:18-25
Have you ever tried to put yourself in Joseph’s shoes? Mary had not been unfaithful to him, but he thought she had. All the evidence was there. There weren’t a lot of ways to get into the situation Mary was in. Maybe you’ve actually been in Joseph’s shoes.
I’ve often marveled at Joseph’s decision to quietly divorce her. Ancient marriage customs aside (divorce was required after a betrothal), this action suggests two things (at least) about Joseph. The first is right in the text: Joseph was faithful to the law. Some translations say that he was “a righteous man.” Joseph wanted to do the right thing. He was committed to God and God’s ways above all else. But there is a second revelation about Joseph that is not as explicit.
He loved Mary. Can you see it? In today’s text, it’s revealed by the two small words “and yet.” Joseph was faithful to the law but wanted to find a way to do what needed to be done without causing undue disgrace and harm to Mary. He was the injured party. He was the one whose rights and dignity had been violated. Yet wanted to take further action to protect Mary. That is a picture of sacrificial love.
There’s a third characteristic of Joseph in this story. He was a very humble man. When the dust settled, or the dream dissipated, Joseph knew the truth. He took Mary to be his wife. He understood, but that didn’t mean everyone did. He was willing to take on the burden and the stigma that the rest of the pregnancy would elicit. People would either think Mary was unfaithful or that Joseph himself was the father. Either way, he was willing to take on that struggle for the sake of God and the woman he loved. A husband protects his wife and humbly follows the leading of the Lord, even if that leading may take him places he would rather not go.
Prayer: Father God, thank you for the example of Joseph. Thank you that he was both righteous and humble. Help me to look for ways to protect my wife and to do so while I am looking to follow your ways.
Reflection: Does your wife need protection? From what? How can you protect her today?
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