The importance of a supportive role

Published 7:31 pm Friday, December 5, 2008

The New Testament writers Matthew, Luke, John, Mark and Paul each relate to the Incarnation (God becoming flesh) in a different approach. I intend to do five articles, one for each writer, desiring that each approach will be meaningful to both you and me. I begin with Matthew.

One thing I see about the approach of Matthew is that he gives special attention to the supportive role of Joseph: how God related to Joseph, how Joseph related to God, how Joseph related to Mary and how Joseph related to the Christ Child.

God saw that Joseph was a righteous person and a compassionate person. God chose him to be the adoptive father of his Son, Jesus. God communicated with Joseph, calling him the son of David and sharing with him what had happened and what would happen to Mary, the one to whom he was committed as husband. God assured Joseph that he had nothing to fear because what was conceived in Mary was by the Holy Spirit. He instructed Joseph to take full responsibility of Mary as his wife and that he should name the Child to be born, Jesus. This Child would be the One who would deliver His people from their sins and would be called “God with us”. Later, God told Joseph to take the Baby and his mother to Egypt for safety. When it became safe to return, God told Joseph to return to the homeland and to the city of Nazareth. (See Matthew 1 and 2.) God saw Joseph as a righteous, compassionate and trustworthy person to whom he could entrust his one and only Son and the earthly mother. Does God see that you and I are righteous, compassionate and trustworthy for a supportive role in what He is doing and wants to do today?

Joseph related to God as a trusting and obedient servant. He believed God as to how Mary came to be “with Child.” He believed God as to who Jesus would become. He obeyed God’s command to “be not afraid,” to be Mary’s disciplined and caring husband, to give the Child the name Jesus, to carry the Baby and mother to Egypt for safety and to return at the right time safely to Nazareth. I believe God has support roles for you and me, just waiting for us to trust and obey Him as Joseph did.

Joseph related to his wife, Mary, as an accepting, caring, compassionate and disciplined husband. Long before the Apostle Paul wrote it, Joseph was an example of “Husbands, love your wives even as Christ also loved the church and gave himself for it” (Ephesians 5:25). For those of us who are husbands, Joseph’s example can be a guide and inspiration toward supporting our wives in such a way that they can fulfill what God has chosen for them to become. I know that I desire to and try to be supportive of my wife in all of her life and ministries.

Joseph related to the Christ Child as a true adoptive father. He was a poor man in earthly goods but rich before God in faith, obedience, diligence and other godly character traits. He provided the best he could in the necessities of life, protection, a godly example and teaching. Joseph was a carpenter and Jesus was known as “the carpenter’s son” who had younger brothers and sisters (Matthew 13:55). Joseph taught him a trade so well that Jesus was also known as “the carpenter” (future article). So here again Joseph becomes an example for us as we men seek to be an umbrella of protection and the example and means whereby our children will have a skill to make a living and a character to make a life.

I believe God led the Gospel writer, Matthew, to give special emphasis to Joseph in the Incarnation passage and in 13:55 to enable us men to become more godly in character as citizens, as workers, as husbands and as fathers.

– Charles Christmas is a religion columnist for The Clanton Advertiser. His column appears each Saturday.