As a father, he had a lot of responsibility. He had to provide for his family while keeping everyone safe. He may have hoped a unique beginning to fatherhood smoothed out to a more ordinary time, but his family stayed in the Once in History category. And, each step of the way, we see how his character makes him a real man and a great dad.
His name is Joseph, and his relationship with Mary started out in an ordinary way. They were pledged to be married, but suddenly Mary delivered a bombshell. She was pregnant! Joseph knew the baby wasn’t his, and Mary’s explanation was a little hard to swallow, so Joseph had to decide what he wanted to do. His character guided Joseph to respond to this situation in a compassionate, gracious way as a real man always should.
The Bible tells us Joseph had in mind to end his relationship with Mary in a quiet way. This would keep Mary from facing the public embarrassment and hardships that came in having a relationship end in this way. She, and he, would be able to move on in life the best way possible if he kept everything quiet, but the Lord intervened and guided Joseph to a different plan. Matthew 1:20 says, “As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit.”
Joseph paid attention and went ahead with his marriage to Mary, so we can add being sensitive to the Lord’s guidance to the list of qualities Joseph displayed. This was not the only time Joseph was sensitive to the Lord’s guidance. As his family grew, Joseph continued to allow the Lord to guide him as a real man should.
- When Jesus’ life was threatened as an infant, Joseph listened to the angel, who told him to flee to Egypt.
- When the threat was over, Joseph listened to the angel, who instructed him to return home.
Joseph had the courage to allow the Lord to guide his decision making, and he had the wisdom to follow the guidance.
Joseph also had self-control. Matthew’s Gospel tells us Joseph and Mary did not have sexual intercourse until after Jesus’ birth. Joseph knew there was a proper time for this occasion, and he had enough control to wait until the time was right.
In summary, Joseph was a compassionate, gracious man who was sensitive to the Lord’s guidance, and he exercised self-control. These are certainly qualities of a great dad and a real man. In fact, they are excellent qualities for anyone – man or woman – to possess. How well do you measure up?