But to Joseph, Mary’s perceived sin did not make her an outcast. He knew she deserved love and protection. The NIV beautifully combines Joseph’s Jewish religious culture and his personal spirituality in one sentence: “Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly” (Matt. 1:19).
Here, we see that Joseph isn’t the grumpy, emasculated husband of Christmas legend. Even before he received God’s message about Jesus, Joseph’s demonstrated love for Mary and his commitment to protect her dignity overpowered any legalism. Joseph’s behavior portrays genuine masculinity and Bible-certified righteousness.
The situation, of course, isn’t what he had first imagined. In a dream, an angel told him Mary’s pregnancy was of divine origin. Joseph dismissed his previous plans and agreed to obey just as quickly and simply as Mary had accepted that she was pregnant before marriage (Matt. 1:24; Luke 1:38).
Such a positive response to such a difficult and risky circumstance would have been impossible in a spiritually dull, legalistic mind. A legalistic man might have quickly dismissed the angel’s message as hallucination, as it seemed to contradict the law. Joseph’s spirituality was of such a kind that he was able to value the will of the lawgiver more than the law, something that eluded many sophisticated theologians and religious leaders (Matt. 15:3–9), not to mention Jesus’ disciples.
Joseph could have been filled with resentment, but he wasn't.
"I’ve seen how difficult that is," writes @Aniyonizigiye, especially "for men who have had to flee their homes and deal with the frustrations of providing without stability."
How did he do it? https://t.co/Z69fpvrfRf
— Christianity Today (@CTmagazine) December 13, 2021