Joseph is the next person in the Christmas story. He is called a righteous man in Matthew 1. Somehow he found out that Mary was pregnant. Since he was righteous, he did not want this to be dealt with publicly. How to deal with this privately was his dilemma. God sent an angel to tell Joseph the truth concerning Mary’s pregnancy. He trusted the angel’s message and took Mary as his wife.
He made sure that they complied with the decree and made sure that he and Mary were in Bethlehem as they were supposed to be to pay their tax. He followed Jewish law and had Jesus circumcised on the eighth day and took Mary and Jesus to Jerusalem for Jesus’ dedication as first born son.
After the incredible visit from the wise men, he listened to another angel’s message from God. This time he quickly left Bethlehem with Mary and Jesus and went to Egypt. He stayed in Egypt until he received another angel’s message to go back to Israel. When he heard that Herod’s son was ruler, he was afraid to go on. God spoke to him in a vision, and Joseph obeyed and went to Nazareth.
We see Joseph one last time in Scripture when he and Mary took Jesus to Jerusalem when Jesus was twelve. This trip was in preparation for Jesus’ bar mitzvah the next year. This incident gives us a picture of Joseph’s performing the role of a father to Jesus to bring him up in the “the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4 KJV – I know that Joseph didn’t read those words, but if you read Deuteronomy 6, you will see that Paul’s words in Ephesians state simply what was taught in Deuteronomy.)
This man Joseph was incredibly obedient. No questions are recorded. It seems that he had no arguments or complaints. It appears that he listened carefully to what was said to him, and he did it. He wasn’t just obeying as a robot or a puppet would. The key to his obedience is that he was a righteous man. God was first and foremost in his life. He willingly obeyed God and received great blessing. One blessing was that he was the one God chose to train Jesus.
Our response should be, first of all, to choose righteousness.
But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness,
and all these things will be added to you.
Our second response should be to obey.
Has the LORD as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
As in obeying the voice of the LORD?
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,
And to heed than the fat of rams.
I Samuel 15:22