Note: We will be examining each of the characters from the Christmas story found in Matthew 1–3 and Luke 1–3 on the blog this month. I’d love for you to grab your Bible and read those passages before digging into these posts.
Admit it, you have a list.
You may not have one written down (although I did!), but in your mind and in your heart you have a list of what you want the guy whom you will eventually walk down the aisle toward to be like.
There’s nothing wrong with that. But sometimes our list tends to focus on all the wrong things. We want a guy with a certain personality or a certain look. Instead, let me encourage you to look for a guy whose profile resembles one of the characters from the Christmas story.
Nope. I’m not talking about Jesus. I’m talking about Mary’s dream guy, Joseph.
Joseph doesn’t get much real estate in the Bible. We know very little about him. But we know that Joseph was a man of integrity. (If you’re not sure what that means, keep reading.)
Matthew 1:18–25 records:
Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by a prophet:
“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel”
(which means God with us). When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.
Integrity simply means doing the right thing. Here is how Joseph demonstrates integrity in these verses.
- The Bible says that Joseph was a just man (v. 19). He did what was fair.
- He didn’t want to publically humiliate Mary, even though based on the information he had at the time he would have assumed she had cheated on him.
- He “resolved to divorce her quietly.” He made up his mind that he would not make a spectacle or cause drama.
- Verse 20 tells us that Joseph “considered these things.” He thought it through. He took his time. He didn’t make a rash decision.
- In verse 23 the angel quotes a prophecy found in Isaiah 7:14 as evidence that Joseph should go ahead and marry Mary. What the Bible said mattered to Joseph.
- Joseph obeyed God. Verse 24 says, “When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took his wife.”
Having integrity would come at a high cost for Joseph. Rumors would swirl. His honor would be called into question. He would trade in his time as a newlywed for becoming the stepdad of a child he had not planned for. But Joseph did what was right anyway. That’s why Joseph is a guy worth admiring, and guys like Joseph are worth waiting for.
So go on, and pull out that list. Does it need some revisions to focus on evidence of integrity?
A list based on Mary’s dream guy would look something like this:
- Praises in public. Criticizes in private.
- Avoids drama.
- Thinks things through. Avoids rash decisions.
- Knows and loves the Word of God.
- Obeys God.
How does Joseph’s character line up with your idea of a dream guy?