Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

The Lesson of Joseph Bringing a Spiritual Perspective to Daily Life

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

The Lesson of Joseph Bringing a Spiritual Perspective to Daily Life

Article excerpt

Joseph has always been right there in the story of Jesus' birth, but only recently have I begun to appreciate his contribution.

The Bible describes Joseph simply, as "a just man" (Matthew 1:19). But reading between the lines shows that Joseph was a wonderful husband and father who fostered the security and well-being of both Mary and Jesus. He was receptive to God's guidance and humbly willing to follow it. He trusted God rather than his own suppositions. He was unselfish and willing to put aside his own plans. Joseph deserves gratitude for his contribution to Christianity.

According to the Bible (see Matthew, chaps. 1, 2), Joseph was espoused to Mary when he discovered she was pregnant. He knew the baby could not be his. Then an angel (a thought from God) told Joseph that the baby was "of the Holy Ghost," and that he didn't need to be afraid to take Mary as his wife. The angel prophesied Jesus would "save his people from their sins." Accepting this message from God, Joseph married Mary. While Jesus was still an infant, Joseph received another angel message from God, directing him to flee to Egypt to protect the baby from King Herod's destructive hate. When told by an angel that it was then safe, Joseph brought them back to Israel, where Jesus grew and, through his teaching and healing, brought the world salvation from sin, disease, and death.

There are lessons you and I can learn from Joseph's life.

Think of how complete and perfect God's work is. God sent his Son to show the way to salvation. Everything about the coming of Jesus Christ was perfect. All the details of time, place, provision, and protection were correct. The prophecies of the Scriptures were all fulfilled. And Joseph, demonstrating simple, complete trust in God, showed that we, too, can trust God to direct us through both the big and little events of our lives.

Joseph provides a lesson in obedience. When God's messages were revealed to him, Joseph acted. And the simplicity of his obedience is remarkable. He obviously put aside concerns about what others would say of him. He put aside ego and no doubt set aside his own human plans. …

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