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Joseph’s Example of How to Show the Love of Christ to Vulnerable Women and Children


The gospel of Matthew introduces us to Joseph in this way: “When [Christ’s] mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly.”

Joseph was a just and empathetic man who was eager to avoid scandal and undue harm. As we learn more about Joseph, we find he was also a faithful, humble, godly servant of his family. Despite his integral role, he’s often overlooked in the Christmas narrative. Because the Lord used Joseph to provide for, protect, and defend both Mary and Baby Jesus, he was an indispensable part of the Holy Family and of the Nativity story itself. 

Later in the Gospel of Matthew, we learn that Joseph had yet another dream, but this time he was told to flee to Egypt in order to protect the life of the Christ child. Joseph, not Jesus’ biological father, but his adoptive dad, risked his reputation, his life, and ultimately his plans in order to be the surrogate earthly father that the Lord desired for His only begotten Son. 

Joseph is particularly relevant as 2022 comes to a close, in the wake of the Dobbs decision this summer, reversing the decision that made abortion legal and unregulated in all 50 states. God chose Joseph to surround Mary during what would have been a “crisis” or “unplanned” pregnancy. Joseph was chosen to be the earthly adoptive father to our  Messiah and the restorative husband to a faithful teenage girl from Nazareth. 

This year, as pro-life advocates and churches are looking for guidance and a model for a post-Roe world, Joseph stands as an example of how to show the love of Christ to vulnerable women and children. 

Joseph is a model of fatherhood for us, while demonstrating the true value of godly husbands and adoptive fathers. He shows us what it looks like to respond to Mary’s “crisis” pregnancy with grace and strength—allowing a new and holy family to be established, one that surrounded her and the unborn child, Jesus, in safety and love. This is the role every man can play in his family, no matter the circumstances.

Joseph’s importance doesn’t stop with exemplary fatherhood; he also demonstrated to us the mission and ministry of adoption. He showed us its rejuvenating and reconciliatory function in our own lives as Christians, as well as the practical application in caring for the vulnerable.

Joseph quietly and faithfully became the adoptive father of Christ and, in so doing, mirrored and illustrated God’s adoptive fatherhood of every Christian. 

“In love [God] predestined us for adoption to Himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which He has blessed us in the Beloved,” we are told in the book of Ephesians

There is no greater calling than this adoption and no more fundamentally redemptive relationship.

“In Him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which He lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which He set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in Him, things in heaven and things on earth.”

In addition, this miraculous work operates through the redemptive act of marriage. At first, Joseph was going to quietly divorce Mary; however, ultimately he laid down his life for his bride. What a beautiful picture of the work of Jesus on display in Christian marriage! Vertically we see the relationship between Christ and the church, and horizontally we see the earthly relationship of husband and wife;  both are pictures the world longs to see.