A Model of Grace


Matthew 1:22-24 (New International Version)
All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us.”) When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.

Joseph would have been intimately familiar with the Jewish Law. His fiancée is pregnant and he knows that it is not his child. Under the Law he had the right to have her accused and killed. But he had already decided to treat Mary with more grace than the Law prescribed. He would quietly send her away. Then an amazing message from God caused Joseph to completely change his mind about cutting his ties with Mary. Instead, as soon as he awoke — with no delay — he did exactly what the angel had commanded. He accepted Mary as his wife, and pledged to care for her child as if it were his own.

According to The New Interpreter’s Bible, “Joseph stands, at the beginning of Matthew’s gospel, as a model of what Matthew hopes for all disciples… By Joseph’s decision to obey the startling and unexpected command of God, he is already living the heart of the law and not its letter, already living out the new and higher righteousness of the kingdom. In a difficult moral situation, he attends to the voice of God, and he is willing to set aside his previous understanding of God’s will in favor of this word from the living and saving God.”

Is it any wonder that God chose this kind, gracious, obedient man to be the earthly father of the Messiah? Joseph would care for Jesus, teach him, love him, protect him. What a gift to the world Joseph was: a model of compassion and grace.

What good lessons did you learn from your earthly father?

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