The book of Matthew traces Joseph’s genealogy through King David all the way to Abraham Matt.1:1-17. He became the father of Jesus as a result of his marriage to Mary.
Joseph was a righteous man. He was about to be married to a righteous woman but a trying situation arose. His wife to be was pregnant and he knew that he was not the father. How do we react when our expectations are shattered? It is during these times of trial that our true character comes to the fore. Joseph was no different; his character shone forth brightly. He quietly deliberated the situation. Hadn’t Mary told him about the announcement of the angel Gabriel Luke 1:26-38? We do not know what he knew but it seems like he was in the dark. The situation was a difficult one; nevertheless, Joseph reacted in love to Mary. He didn’t report her to the religious authorities to be punished. He did not publicly accuse her of any wrong doing. He just decided to quietly divorce her which would have resulted in the least embarrassment for her. (Matt.1:18-19)
Joseph was a man who obeyed God. When God instructed Joseph to go ahead and take Mary as his wife, he obeyed. God supplied all the information Joseph needed in order to make his obedience easier. (Matt.1:19-25).
Again shortly after Jesus was born, God instructed Joseph to take his family to Egypt to escape being killed by King Herod. Joseph obeyed promptly and Jesus was saved from King Herod. Moving to Egypt may have been an inconvenience to Joseph. He had to disrupt his job, move away from family, go to a strange land, and find new employment. Joseph did not quibble, he just obeyed Matt. 2:13-14.
When they were getting use to things in Egypt, God came again in a dream telling Joseph to return to Israel. King Herod was dead. Joseph again uprooted his family and returned to Israel. By this time, Mary may have been pregnant again. The journey back home was probably more exhausting than the one to Egypt but Joseph obeyed Matt.2:19-21.
On arrival back in Israel, Joseph became aware that Herod’s son was reigning in Judea. He was afraid of what might happen. Again he obeyed the warning given in a dream and instead went to Nazareth and settled there. (Matt.2:22-23.)
In summary, 1) we are told that Joseph was a righteous man Matt.1:19. 2) He acted in love even when he was under pressure. 3) Joseph obeyed God without complaining. Joseph, a man we know so little about, but who was obviously well known to God and approved by Him to be the father of our Lord Jesus Christ. We would do well to emulate his righteous example.