A husband’s significance
Luke 2:1-5 (NIV) In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (2) (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) (3) And everyone went to his own town to register. (4) So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. (5) He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.
What do we see when we read this passage of Scripture? We see that the Romans wanted to do a headcount of their population and that this was not the first time they had wanted to do so. We see that everyone was required to go to his hometown to be counted. We see that Joseph had to travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem in order to be counted correctly. And we see that Joseph has taken his pregnant fiancé with.
It is so easy to miss the significance of mere words on a piece of paper that were written some two thousand years ago. In not being a first century Jew or Roman official living or stationed in first century Israel, it is so easy to simply gloss over these words and think, “Okay! So Joseph travelled from point A to point B with his fiancé because he had to.” And thus it is so easy to miss the significance, the truth, of what has been written.
Take a step back for moment and ask yourself, “Where exactly was Nazareth in relation to Bethlehem? How did they get there? How long would it have taken for them to have travelled there? What about compensation for loss of income due to this travelling time? Was it safe for a pregnant women to be travelling this distance and under these conditions?”
When we take this step back and ask ourselves these questions, then we realise that Joseph would have had to have travelled by foot for four days just to get from Nazareth to Bethlehem in order to satisfy the demands of a tyrant. And then we realise that this travel time would have doubled by the fact that he was taking a heavily pregnant women with him on the journey, needing to rest often, fearing imminent birth or worse, miscarriage.
And after we’ve realised these things, we realise – we see – the significance of what this passage of Scripture is trying to bring out to us; faithful commitment.
It would have been so easy for Joseph to have given Mary up because of her pregnant state and save himself from the ridicule and scorn of his peers. It would have been so easy to have left Mary in Nazareth with her parents and allowed her to be counted amongst the people of Nazareth. It would have been so much more convenient to just set aside his responsibilities and quickly get this over with.
But he didn’t. Because he was committed! And his commitment allowed him to remain faithful to Mary, believing the story she told him of how she became pregnant. And Joseph’s commitment allowed him to be faithful to God and His will for their lives, for the world.
How is your commitment? Can you be counted on to remain faithful to a cause, a decision, your word?
When we read the gospels, we find very little written about Joseph. He was not a prominent figure, or person of significance. Yet, maybe it is that God chose Joseph to be Mary’s husband for this very reason, for this very characteristic of his, knowing that it is going to need the faithful commitment of a man like Joseph to ensure the successful fulfilment of an ancient prophecy that would result in the salvation of humanity.
Joseph was not a man of significance. But he was a man of commitment. He was not asked to move mountains or drive out nations. But he was asked to be a husband to a women. And that was all. Nothing more. Nothing less.
Are you such a man or women that God can use? Can you be trusted to remain faithfully committed to whatever it is God has called you to be or do? Do you have it in you to be a Joseph? With God, all things are possible.
my name is darryl
and this is what i have to say