The forgoetten man of Christmas
The Forgotten Man of Christmas (Matthew 1–2)
The forgotten man of Christmas is Joseph. He never speaks in the Bible. One called him "Joseph the silent." He is usually relegated to the role of an extra in the Christmas story. That should not be. Even though Joseph was remarkably simple, he was simply remarkable.
Joseph demonstrates to us all the consequences and influence of obedience to the word of God.
The Forgotten Man of Christmas Demonstrates Obedience to God, Regardless
We can obey God with immediacy. Zacharias denied the command of God. Mary doubted the command of God. Joseph simply obeyed. He woke up from his dream and married Mary. Nothing pleases God like obedience.
We can obey God in painful circumstances. Joseph's obedience came in the midst of betrothal to a pregnant woman. The rabbis demanded that such a woman be put away. Yet Joseph obeyed when it hurt.
We can obey God in spite of fear. Joseph felt terror at the holy thing God was doing. God told him "Do not be afraid" (1:20). We can obey God even while going forward in fear.
We can obey God by staking everything on His word alone. Even though Joseph had no New Testament, he staked his future on the word of God.
The Forgotten Man of Christmas Demonstrates the Consequences of Obedience
Obedience to God always has immediate personal consequences. Joseph "took Mary home as his wife. But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son" (1:25). Joseph was probably a young man. The immediate consequence of his obedience was to live with Mary in chastity until she gave birth. He watched her, protected her, but did not touch her.
Obedience to God sets the course for a lifetime of consequences. The trip to Bethlehem, the flight to Egypt, the running from Herod's family, looking for Jesus at the temple, and many other consequences came from the initial decision of obedience.
There is no obedience to the word and will of God without consequences.
The Forgotten Man of Christmas Demonstrates the Influence of Obedience
Your obedience always influences how others think about God. When Jesus called God "Abba, Father" he was reflecting his relationship to Joseph. When the hero in the parable of the prodigal son was the father, we see a reflection of Joseph.
Your obedience influences how others yield to the will of God. When Jesus prayed, "Not my will, but thine," He was reflecting what He saw in the life of Joseph who had obeyed years before, regardless of the consequences.