It’s not easy to play second fiddle. Most people want to be the lead person.
Second fiddle is a role played by an assistant or second-in-command to someone else. Second fiddle is a secondary role, less important or less powerful to someone else. (Sidebar note … second fiddles are necessary roles AND important roles … not everyone can be a first chair … there has to be supportive roles!)
Mary and Baby Jesus get all the attention at Christmas … obviously! Where would we be if Jesus had not come? What if Mary would have said “no”? I feel confident that just as God chose Mary, He also chose Joseph.
Joseph was a step-dad. He was “daddy” … he was not “Father”.
I have written before that I believe Mary had a heart after God. God didn’t look down from heaven and willy-nilly look around, saw Mary and said, “That one!”. No, I believe God planted in her heart a hunger for Him and chose Mary to be the earthly mother of His Son.
But just as surely, God knew that Jesus was going to need an earthly dad that would help raise Him. Matthew tells us that Joseph was a just man. Strong’s Concordance tells us this means “upright, blameless, righteous, conforming to God’s laws and man’s”.
Discovering Mary was pregnant and “what to do?” was not an easy choice for Joseph. It was difficult for him to understand that Mary was supernaturally pregnant! Did he believe her at first? Had she deceived him? Was he jealous? Did he know before she went to visit with Elizabeth? When she returned she was three months along and obviously pregnant. Is that when she told him? Or did she tell him before she left and pray that he would use that time to consider what to do? Because he was a just and righteous man he was inclined to show her mercy … he loved her and was willing to divorce her privately rather than have her stoned but then the angel appeared!
While Joseph was considering what to do, an angel appeared to him “…do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit”. I personally think that “being a just and righteous” man he knew the scriptures and being a descendent of David he was in the right family to be chosen by God for this role.
Another thing to note in Joseph’s character was that not only did he obey God to take Mary as his wife but he did not consummate his marriage to her until after the Christ Child was born … he was able to hold back his manly passions!
It is an interesting fact that first the angel had to appear to Mary to tell her she was the chosen one and would be carrying the Christ Child in her womb. After that the angel never appeared to Mary again … it was always to Joseph, the head of the home AND Mary was submitted to his leadership. She never once said, “Hey, I’m not moving to Egypt … the angel hasn’t told me that … I’m the one that carried Him in my womb, I’m the one that the angel should talk to …” No, she trusted that Joseph had heard from God and followed his leadership.
The second angelic appearance was after the wise men left and an angel once again visited Joseph and told him to “take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word …” What? He had already left his hometown, his work, went to Bethlehem and now to Egypt? How long would the family need to stay? What would he do to bring in money to live on? (Thank you wise men for giving us gold, frankincense and myrrh!) But Joseph obeyed and took the family to Egypt!
Then the angel appeared again after Herod died and told Joseph to pack up the family once more and return to the land of Israel. WOW … another move! In both going to and returning from Egypt … Joseph obeyed without delay!
The final word from God to Joseph was after they returned to the land of Israel and Joseph heard that the son of Herod was ruling. Joseph being fearful for the life of the Child, God warned him in a dream and he turned aside where they then settled in Nazareth in the region of Galilee.
How would you like to play second fiddle to God? Trying to parent the Son of God! WOW! God entrusted Jesus to Joseph to help raise Him! Joseph was willing to be lead by God, not by his feelings or desires.
Joseph was a carpenter showing/teaching Jesus how to build … all time time Jesus knowing that in the end He was going to be building people not things! Joseph did not have a model of how to raise the boy Jesus. He was living a “never before”!
Joseph had to be a man of character to be willing to stand along side Mary as others sneered, gossiped and talked about her “out of wedlock” pregnancy. I’m sure that throughout his life he also had to take his share of gossip.
There are songs about the baby, songs about Mary, songs about shepherds, angels, wise men and even drummer boys! Have you ever heard a song about Joseph?
God chose Joseph and he fulfilled the role God assigned to him … that of protector and guardian of Jesus. He observed the holy days, went yearly to Jerusalem to observe the Feast of the Passover and took the family with him. Joseph’s life and the role he played stands as a testimonial to the value of hearing from God, obedience, faithfulness and especially to honoring the entrusted role of fatherhood!