Posted by: Jo | December 9, 2011

What About Joseph?

“Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man…..” (Matthew 1:19)

It is about this time in Sunday Schools everywhere that the preparations begin for the Christmas Pageant and the excitement escalates as those taking part are assigned their roles. Little girls are all a flutter about getting the major role of Mary as one of the benefits is wearing that beautiful blue cloak and of course holding the baby Jesus. Other little girls are not disappointed because they get those graceful angel wings, dainty white dresses and sometimes even golden halos. Even the boys like the fun of wrapping tea towels around their heads and looking like rough shepherds and perhaps holding stuffed lambs and they even get to say a few words. Other coveted roles are available for boys in the form of the Three Wise Men and the chance to wear that cardboard crown adorned with fake jewels and some imaginative productions have cardboard camels to walk behind, but what about Joseph? No one seems anxious to play that role. One little boy once made this remark, “He only gets to stand behind Mary.”

That little boy was probably not aware of the deep significance of those words; the supporting role, either on stage or in life is not one many strive to fulfill. Admittedly Joseph does not get a lot of space in Scripture, but the few verses that mention him give a very graphic picture of why this particular man was chosen by God for that incredibly important role of supporting and protecting the mother of the Saviour of the world. We read that with complete faith in the God he served, he accepted the word of the angel of the Lord (Matthew 1:21-22) and took Mary to be his wife even though he knew she was pregnant. Again he was obedient to yet another command, without any hesitating, he escaped into Egypt in order to protect the baby Jesus from King Herod (Matthew 2:13). Another message from the Lord and Joseph and his little family were moving back to Nazareth trusting in the protection of the God Almighty (Matthew 2:19 -23). We can imagine God welcoming Joseph into heaven with these words, “Well done, good and faithful servant”

What can we learn from Joseph? Firstly his servant attitude helps us to look at our own lives to reflect on those who have stood behind us in a supporting role. Who was there when we started the quest to achieve that degree; to make that big career change; to make a major decision; to bounce ideas around; to be reassured; just to get through life every day? Who were the Spiritual advisors who helped us when life was clouded by doubt? This is a time to give thanks for those who stood behind us.

The reverse may be happening in some of our lives. We may have been chosen by the Lord to play the supporting role for someone else. When we look at the example of Joseph, we see the role in a whole different light. We no longer resent the fact that we are not in the limelight, we can see ourselves as especially chosen by the Lord to fulfill an honorable task, just like Joseph, we can stand in the knowledge that we are pleasing the Lord and can look forward to also hearing those words, “Well done good and faithful servant.”

Of course Joseph’s role is also a wonderful illustration of who stands behind us in that loving and supporting role all our lives. The Lord Himself!

“….Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the Lord loves rests between his shoulders” (Deuteronomy 33:12)

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Responses

  1. Joseph was an ordinary man. He was not a leader. There was nothing spectacular about him, except that he was Mary’s husband.

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