Joseph was a righteous man (Matthew 1:19). What a wonderful legacy that is to leave behind. He did not receive a lot of ink in the Scriptures. He remains relatively unknown except for the few episodes that are recorded. We know that his mate bore the most important figure in history. Outside of that we have little information except the assessment of God: He was righteous.

In an extremely awkward situation, he acted honorably. He apparently had every right to embarrass his bride-to-be. She was with child. It was biologically impossible for it to be his, and that would certainly have been humiliating for him. Why not retaliate and disgrace her? Yet, he chose not to. Why? Because that is not what righteous people do. Intentionally inflicting harm, even when it seems to be deserved, is not the way of righteousness.

An angel opened Joseph’s eyes to what was really going on (Matt 1:20-23). What a stretch it must have been for his carpenter’s mind. The child was conceived of the Holy Spirit. The prophet had written about it. The virgin was carrying the Savior of the world. She was his intended. Marriage plans were to proceed as planned. How is that for a communiqué by means of a dream? It was a message from God. Joseph believed it and acted accordingly. Why? That is what righteous people do.

It was not the last message from the Lord that Joseph would receive. Hostilities escalated in the land, and the king was on a homicide mission. Warned to get out of the country, he went (Matt. 2:13-14). Told it was time to go home, he obeyed (Matt. 2:19-22). Instructed to go again, he did (Matt. 2:22-23). The Lord sent word and Joseph complied. It was all part of the unfolding plan of God, and he was right in the middle of it. That is where righteous people are found.

Joseph disappears early. Just a few episodes here and there expose us to this righteous man. He did not seek to inflict pain even when it seemed justifiable. He believed the message from the Lord when it seemed incredible. When he received instructions from God, he followed them. In so doing, prophecies were fulfilled and the case was made: This child is the Messiah. Righteous people always seem to be making that case.

Call to Praise Scripture: 2 Corinthians 5:14-15

His word on it: 1 John 3:16

Sermon: “The Love of Christ”