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Seeking a “righteous” solution

December 7, 2021

Daily Scripture

Matthew 1:18-19

18 This is how the birth of Jesus Christ took place. When Mary his mother was engaged to Joseph, before they were married, she became pregnant by the Holy Spirit. 19 Joseph her husband was a righteous man. Because he didn’t want to humiliate her, he decided to call off their engagement quietly.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

Personally painful as he found Mary’s pregnancy, Joseph maintained a concern for her well-being and safety. If he denounced her publicly, she might even be stoned to death (see John 8:3-5), as the law in Deuteronomy said. But “although some lynchings may have occurred in secret, they were rare, so Mary likely faced divorce rather than death.” Even there, Joseph sought the least hurtful solution—”sensitive to her shame, he prefers a private divorce.”*

  • Matthew reported something important even before Joseph met the angel in a dream: “Joseph her husband was a righteous man… he didn’t want to humiliate her.” What do you learn about Joseph’s inner qualities from his refusal to humiliate Mary? Henry Cloud and John Townsend wrote a Biblically based study of the qualities of “safe people.”** Joseph, even perplexed and hurt, was a safe person. How alike are you to Joseph in being a “safe” person for others?
  • As an adult, Jesus remembered his earthly father’s admirable qualities, and even extended them (cf. Matthew 5:23-24, 38-45). He transformed his ardent follower Paul from an angry, vindictive young man into an apostle who taught utterly counter-cultural values in a Roman world obsessed with personal status and glory (cf. Romans 12:9-10, Philippians 2:3-4). In our “I don’t get mad—I get even” world, what helps you live out the principles that guided Joseph, Jesus and Paul?

The Journey: A Season of Reflections

Today’s Insights was chapter 9, “Being a Righteous Man…”, from The Journey: A Season of Reflections, by Adam Hamilton. Copyright © 2011 by Abingdon Press, and available on our website for 24 hours by permission of Abingdon Press. If you’d like to buy the entire book of reflections, you can click here for a direct link to the Cokesbury sale page, as well as other Journey resources.)


Lord Jesus, your earthly father’s “righteous” character didn’t demand following “the law” to the letter, but showed mercy to Mary. Help my righteousness, too, to always lean in the direction of mercy. Amen.

GPS Insights

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

* NIV, Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible, eBook (Kindle Locations 218747-218748, 218752-218753). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

** Henry Cloud and John Townsend, Safe People. Zondervan: 1995.