Joseph the Protector
Scripture Reading: Matthew 1:18-25
Oftentimes, when we consider the birth of Jesus, it seems that Joseph’s role is downplayed. I guess when we look at the Christmas story with a Sunday school mentality he looks like a passive bystander. But in actuality God chooses Joseph to be a protector of the carrier of the plan of redemption.
Right from the start, we see this righteous man’s protective nature to keep Mary from being disgraced from the religious public eye. As he contemplates sending her away secretly he has a supernatural encounter with an angel “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. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”” (See Matthew 1:20-21.) NIV
God understands Joseph’s doubts and concerns about this pregnancy. He knew it would take an angelic visitation to assure him of Mary’s faithfulness to him, and a confirmation that he is called to be Mary’s husband, her spiritual covering, and be committed to raise this child for God.
It took a man of great faith to readily receive this angelic report that his virgin, wife-to-be, was impregnated by the Spirit of God, and was going to give birth to the long-awaited Messiah.
Only a man of integrity would accept this supernatural calling, and willingly endure the criticism that lay ahead of this couple’s future together as man and wife.
Joseph proves himself as an honorable man as well. As Mary’s spiritual covering he obeys God’s command and protects her even when others cannot see, and he keeps his wife a virgin until after she gives birth to Jesus, see Matthew 1:24-25.
He provides shelter, a safe place for Mary to give birth to Jesus in a stable because there was no room for them in the inn, see Luke 2:1-7.
To escape King Herod’s murderous rampage and save the life of the Christ Child, the protector is commissioned by an angel in a dream to escape into Egypt with Mary and Jesus, see Matthew 2:13-18, and because of his immediate response to obey the vulnerable Redeemer is safe.
And being supernaturally warned of danger in another dream he changes route on their way back to Israel and they move to Nazareth instead, where he safely raises Jesus. (See Matthew 2:19-23.)
Joseph is not a passive bystander, he is proactive. He receives direction from God and quickly obeys. And because of his obedience to be a protector of the carrier of the plan of redemption, we who believe, are now safe.