Joseph: Four Lessons from the Christmas Story
(Read Matthew 1:1-25)
Joseph played one of the most important roles in the history of the world—He was the earthly father of Jesus Christ. We can gain valuable insights from Matthew’s account of Joseph and his role in the Christmas story. Here are a few lessons from Joseph’s life:
1. God is faithful to fulfill His promises.
Matthew 1:1-17 explains that Joseph was a descendant of King David. Centuries before, God promised David that his throne “would be established forever” (1 Chronicles 17:14). By the time of Joseph, the glory days of Israel’s kingdom were all but forgotten. The Jews had experienced military defeat, exile, and oppression from a series of foreign entities. Perhaps it looked like God was mistaken when he spoke of an eternal throne. He wasn’t. He used Joseph, David’s descendant, to establish a spiritual kingdom which will have no end. God was faithful to his promise to David, and He’ll be faithful to His promises to you.
2. God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things.
Royal blood flowed in Joseph’s veins, but he was nonetheless a simple carpenter. He was probably successful in his trade, but it would seem there was nothing remarkable about him. Jesus’ critics, for example, would later comment that he was a just a “carpenter’s son” (Matthew 13:55). Joseph probably never imagined that God would bestow such an honor on an ordinary man. You may consider yourself ordinary, but you never know what great things God may have in store for you!
3. God notices character, even if no one else does.
The Bible cleary states that Joseph was a “righteous man” (Matthew 1:19). Only this kind of man would be fit for the task of raising Jesus. God knew that he could trust Joseph because he was faithful in “little things.” If you bought furniture from him, you could be confident that he didn’t use cheap materials just to make extra profit. If he accidentally hit is thumb with a hammer, he refrained from yelling certain “colorful” expletives. He worshiped God and followed Him faithfully in these “little” things. God noticed—and He also notices you.
4. God is faithful to direct us if we seek Him with all of our heart.
When Joseph learned that Mary was pregnant, he decided to divorce her quietly (Matthew 1:19). Joseph apparently had a heart full of mercy, for according to Hebrew law, he could have publicly charged Mary with adultery. His decision was honorable and logical, but it was wrong. He was about to make one of the greatest mistakes of all time! God knew that Joseph was not acting out of deliberate disobedience. To make things perfectly clear, he sent and angel to explain his plan (Matthew 1:20-21). You do not have to worry about “missing” God’s will as long as you are honestly seeking Him with all of your heart. He will do whatever is necessary to make it clear to you.
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