Posted by Jack Carter on 10th December 2022
We love a hero, don’t we? There is a special place in our hearts for them. From the latest Marvel film, voting in droves for our favourite Strictly dancer, or watching heroes (and villains) made in the World Cup, we love to find heroes and lift them into the limelight. It got me to thinking about what really qualifies as heroic qualities and characteristics….
Joseph is my hero from the Christmas story. He’s not your typical hero though is he? I mean, Joseph famously doesn’t even say a word in the Bible. But his actions speak volumes.
Firstly, Joseph challenges us as to how we deal with bad news. I don’t know how I would have responded to the news that my fiancée was pregnant by ‘another’, but I suspect I wouldn’t have been as merciful as he was! He chooses to ‘divorce her quietly’ showing deep compassion and rationality. He doesn’t respond rashly or angrily, emotions which would have been understandable considering the circumstances. Heroic stuff.
Thankfully, Joseph then receives a dream telling him ‘Do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit’, which then leads us to admire his obedience, even though it would mean intense scrutiny and loss of reputation and status within the culture of the time. As author Daniel Darling observes, Joseph would ‘bear the shame for sins he didn’t commit… foreshadowing the shame that this baby would one day bear on behalf of Joseph and Mary and all who know Jesus.’
His heroics don’t end there though, for Joseph promptly marries Mary and then leads his new family all the way to Egypt to escape Herod (think about this when you dread your next long car journey with kids in tow!) Again, we see a life of obedience, a life aligned and submitted to God’s plan. We don’t exactly know what Joseph was like as a father to Jesus, but we can clearly see why God chose him for this most significant of jobs.
Like Joseph, most of us will be a silent, unsung hero, more of a footnote rather than a headline in the annals of history. But all of us can, as Joseph would have heard when reunited with his Saviour at death, have the words ‘well done good and faithful servant’ spoken to us. Let’s be like Joseph and say ‘Yes’ to God, allowing Him to plot our course, even when it could cost us our reputation or derails our plans. Like Joseph, let’s make sure that our actions speak louder than our words.
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