This Sunday we’re going to be considering the account of Jesus’ birth. I’ve been thinking about the faith of Joseph this week. Russell Moore, in his book, Adopted for Life, makes the point that we tend to give Joseph supporting actor status in the drama that’s unfolding at the beginning of the gospel. But think about Joseph. While it’s impossible to know exactly how old he was we can say that he was definitely young. Prior to Mary’s unexpected pregnancy he was traveling the path of normal life. He had a job. He was about to be married. Things were progressing according to plan.
Then Mary turns up pregnant with an explanation that was as hard to believe then as it would be today. Believing God’s Word to him in a dream Joseph accepts by faith the task set before him. Moore states the consequences like this:
“In believing God, Joseph probably walks away from his reputation. The wags in his hometown would probably always whisper about how ‘poor Joseph was hoodwinked by that girl’ or how ‘Joseph got himself in trouble with that girl.’ Joseph certainly walks away from economic security. Joseph surrenders a household economy, a vocation probably built up over generations and handed down to him by his father.”
Put yourself at 17 or 18 years old in Joseph’s shoes. How would you or I have responded to such a dramatic change in our life plans? How would you have felt sitting in a smelly cave filled with animals while your brand new wife was in labor with a child you didn’t help conceive? What about when you were fleeing to Egypt because a crazy king wanted to kill that baby?
To me, Joseph is an excellent example of Jesus’ words in Mark 8:35, “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.” Joseph quite literally lost his life, the life he had planned, for the sake of Jesus. Joseph’s life is a stunning example of faith and an illustration that God is and is a rewarder of those who seek Him.