Legal Rights and Righteousness

Matthew 1:19 (CJB)

Her husband-to-be, Yosef, was a man who did what was right; so he made plans to break the engagement quietly, rather than put her to public shame.

100_3215Joseph is a man who does what is right, so says this verse. How then is righteousness defined? By law — Deut 22:20-24 — the right thing to do is to have Mary, the supposed “harlot” who apparently got herself pregnant by someone else, stoned in her father’s doorway by the men of the city! Yet here, Joseph seeks discretion, intending to extend mercy to the one who had wronged him so profoundly. And this intention, despite his legal rights, is what is truly called “right.” And so he sets the stage for his Son, who will continue to upset the community’s sense of righteousness, pointing to yet a better way. Lord, transform my legalistic and merciless heart. Teach me to be like You.


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