Joseph: Doing What is Right
-Pastor Melissa Fain-
18 Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. 20 But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:
23 “Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means, “God is with us.” 24 When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife, 25 but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son; and he named him Jesus.
Matthew 1:18-25 NRSV
Did you know that the right choice isn’t always the easy choice? Actually, the right choice can often be far more difficult than the wrong choice.
Oskar Schindler was a German businessman in pre-WWII Germany. He was wealthy. In WWII he could have taken the easy path. He could have focused on himself, and his needs. No one was after him. Instead, he began spending his money to save Jews during the Holocaust. What is the Holocaust? It was real bad. Hitler, the leader of the Nazi party, convinced Germany that being Jewish was wrong. Millions were killed in something called concentration camps. Schindler knew this wasn’t right. To do what was right, he used his own money and resources to save Jews. It wasn’t easy, but it was right. He ended up saving about 1,100 people.
Joseph could have taken the easy path too. In his mind he had two choices: Either, he could take Mary to the Jewish authorities as an unwed, pregnant woman and the authorities would kill her, or he could quietly break off the engagement and she would slowly die of starvation in the streets. In either case, Joseph would be just fine. In his mind, maybe she could survive being quietly let go. That was the option he was going to choose, until God gave him a third choice: Do what was right. Stay engaged. Raise the child as his own. This would not be the easy choice for Joseph, but it was the right one.
Question: When did you have a choice that was not easy, but it was right?
Prayer: Dear God, help us do what’s right, even if it doesn’t feel good. Amen.
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