Character Quality: Responsibility
Character Quality: Responsibility
He didn’t believe at first. In fact, he was hurt — mortally wounded he thought. His head was spinning. He couldn’t think; he couldn’t focus; he couldn’t imagine. Maybe he didn’t hear right. Maybe he was dreaming. No, this was a nightmare.
Mary was pregnant? How? When? Who? No, this wasn’t happening, not Mary, not his Mary. She wasn’t like that. She wouldn’t. What was going on?
He confronted her, but her answer only made it worse. Did she think he was a fool? Was this her response to his affection towards her? Had he misread her? An angel? Really? No, this cannot be happening.
Joseph ran home. Friends greeted him, not to comfort, but to condemn her. “Stone her!” they argued. They wanted him to act now, not to delay. They would go with him. “The law says,” they declared. “You have the right,” they said. “This is not your responsibility!”
Joseph’s head was throbbing. What was happening? They were planning on the wedding; they were betrothed. They were to be married. There had to be an answer, a real answer, not the one Mary gave him just now, but another answer, a reasonable answer. But the more he thought about that possibility, the more he realized he didn’t like any of the current options. The situation was hopeless. His world was crumbling. His friends were shouting. He left with Mary in tears.
Mary. He had known her his whole life. This was not like her. She blushed when he spoke to her. She would barely look him in the eye. Mary, with her lovely and shy smile, had stolen his heart. Mary was the girl he was planning to wed, to live his life with, to be the mother of his children. Yes, his children.
He knew her to be a prayerful woman. He knew she loved God — at least that is what he thought he knew. Now what did he know? Had she completely changed? His world has certainly changed. What would he do now?
What about his reputation? He had established himself as hard working, responsible, and diligent. His family was respected. Everyone knew everyone. The whole community anticipated their wedding. People were already making judgments and hurling accusations. How would this affect his work?
His friends and family continued to push him to publicly punish her for her sin. But he couldn’t. Not now. Not yet. No, he had to get some sleep. He had to try and think things through.
Her answer to his question had been so simple, her tears so sincere. She had looked him straight in the eye. She hadn’t tried to convince him, she just answered his question.
Joseph cried out for understanding as he lied down. He was restless, but exhausted. He went to sleep searching for answers and an Angel met him in a dream. The angel said, “Do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife for the Child who is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. You will call Him Jesus and He will save His people from their sins.” (Matt. 1:20-21)
Joseph did not hesitate to take Mary as his wife. This was indeed his responsibility. The Angel said it was his responsibility. She had been chosen to bear the Son of God, and he had been chosen to protect and provide for Mary and her Son, Jesus.
There was much to do. He couldn’t answer all their questions to their satisfaction. He had not been charged with that task. But he could take her as his wife and lead their family. Providentially God provided a ‘way of escape’ and they moved to Bethlehem for His birth. And later God again sent an Angel to protect them from Herod’s madness and they fled to Egypt.
Joseph did what needed to be done not for his own glory or because it was convenient or comfortable, but because it glorified God.