Finding our Identity in Christ
Joseph as a Picture of Jesus
- In the past weeks we studied three coats that were removed from Joseph. Each coat prophetically spoke about specific rights we need to relinquish so we can walk in the freedom Christ offers each believer. Only then can we put on the glorious garment that God has prepared for each one of us as His sons and daughters.
- However, for us to complete the picture and see these principles in a correct and balanced way we need to see them in the light of Jesus Christ.
John 5:45-47 NKJV
45 Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; there is one who accuses you—Moses, in whom you trust.
46 For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me.
47 But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?”
- When Jesus addressed the Jewish religious leaders, He turned to the writings of Moses, which the Jews revere as God’s inspired Word. Jesus told them that everything Moses wrote pointed to Himself.
“For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me.”
2 Corinthians 3:6 NKJV
6 who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
- Reading the Bible without seeing and understanding it from the point of view of the centrality of Jesus Christ, will cause a person to develop a series of rules and principles that result in legalism and lifeless religious rituals. — “for the letter kills”
- However, if one reads and studies the Bible and allows the Holy Spirit to reveal Jesus Christ, the Scriptures will come alive and result in a life-giving message and an overcoming life of faith filled with love, peace, and joy. — “but the Spirit gives life.”
Luke 24:27 NKJV
27 And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.
- After His resurrection when Jesus met two very despondent disciples on their way to the town of Emmaus, He turned to the writings of Moses and all the Prophets to reveal Himself to them. He explained that all the Messiah had to suffer was found in the Scriptures. The purpose of the Scriptures was to reveal the Messiah.
- The New Testament gives many examples of how Jesus’ life was prophesied and revealed in the Old Testament. These examples are only a fraction of the numerous prophetic insights, pictures, and types found throughout the Old Testament.
Romans 3:21-23 NKJV
21 But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,
22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference;
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
- The purpose of the Law and the Prophets was not to teach people how to live a righteous life, but to point to the One who would enable them through faith to live a righteous life. — “even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ.”
- The Jewish religious leaders failed to understand the purpose of the Law and the Prophets. They not only developed a dead religious system but failed to recognize Jesus Christ as the One to whom all the Scriptures point.
Colossians 1:13-20 NKJV
13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love,
14 in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.
16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.
17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.
18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.
19 For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell,
20 and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.
- Colossians, Chapter one, really emphasizes the preeminence of Jesus Christ beginning with His redemptive work through to His sacrifice at Calvary. — “in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.” (Verse 14).
- The chapter continues by showing that Jesus Christ is the revelation and perfect representation of God in a tangible form. — “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.” (verse 15).
- Christ is not only the creator of all things but all things are created for Him. — “All things were created through Him and for Him.” (verse 16b).
- Throughout these verses the preeminence of Jesus Christ is repeated over and over again.
“And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.” (verse 17).
“And He is the head of the body, the church” (verse 18a).
“who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead” (verse 18b).
“that in all things He may have the preeminence.” (verse 18b).
“For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell” (verse 19).
- When Christians fail to understand the preeminence of Jesus Christ, they become frustrated with God and with life, thinking they are entitled to a life that caters to their whims and wishes. In reality, we are created for God’s good pleasure.
Philippians 1:20-21 NKJV
20 according to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death.
21 For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
- If we grasp the principle found in Philippians, Chapter 1, we will enter into a new dimension of rest, peace, and joy no matter what circumstances we face. It will no longer be about us, but about Jesus being glorified in us.
“so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”
- When as believers in Jesus Christ we come to a place of exalting Him in every area in our lives and in our hearts we will find the delight of living the abundant life that God meant for us.
John 10:10 NKJV
10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
- The devil’s strategy to steal, kill, and destroy is to tempt people to exalt themselves and pursue their own plans, wishes, and lusts. This leads to a life of destruction, devoid of any eternal value.
- However, the life that leads to an abundant life overflowing with God’s purposes is one where believers place Jesus Christ and His will first in their lives.
- People who fail to understand that God is both love and holy, will completely misunderstand God’s motivation and plans.
- God is Love (1 John 4:8) and everything He does is motivated by His love and His desire to redeem and reconcile each person to Himself.
- God is holy and He cannot and will not allow rebellion and sin to defile the eternal kingdom that He will set up. Those who choose to reject His plan of redemption through faith in Jesus Christ will find the Lake of Fire is the only alternative.
- If we read, study, and meditate on the Bible from Genesis to Revelation from the perspective that God is love and is holy, then the revelations found in His Word will come into focus. It will fill our hearts with awe and delight at the perfection of God’s ways.
- The New Testament is not a new story but a continuation of the Old Testament. The New Testament completes the narrative and its theme is about the author of life—Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
- As we study the different writings and stories found in the Old Testament we will discover many New Testament truths that will enrich our understanding and relationship with Jesus Christ.
- Joseph’s life and story is understood even by the rabbis as containing prophetic elements pointing to the Messiah.
- However, the rabbis also see the life and story of David as containing prophetic elements pointing to the Messiah.
- This tension between the two prophetic types found in Joseph and David have led some rabbis to conclude that maybe there are two different Messiahs.
- The rabbis see one Messiah as Messiah ben Joseph—Messiah the son of Joseph representing a suffering Messiah.
- They see the other Messiah as Messiah ben David—Messiah the son of David representing a conquering Messiah.
- However, in reality there is one Messiah who comes twice. The first time He came to redeem us at Calvary through His suffering, death, and resurrection. The second time He will return as the conquering King of kings and Lord of lords to put His enemies under His feet and to establish His everlasting kingdom.
- Even though God has placed His Son, Jesus Christ, at the center of all creation to be worshipped and exalted, Jesus came the first time not as a conquering king. He was born as a helpless baby and a lowly man to suffer and die so mankind could be saved from the sin and rebellion they had embraced.
- The story of Joseph is one of the most touching of the Old Testament stories and prophetic types revealing Jesus Christ because it reveals the tenderness of Jesus’ heart toward mankind and the suffering and heartbreak He endured to redeem us.
- We can see many prophetic parallels between Joseph’s life and Jesus Christ.
- We see comparisons between Joseph and Jesus right from their miraculous births. Joseph was born to Jacob in his old age and to Rachel who had been barren. (Genesis 30:22). Jesus was born to Mary, a virgin. (Luke 1:31, 34).
- Joseph was his father’s favourite son and Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of the Father.
“The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.” (John 1:18b).
- Joseph was hated and betrayed by his brothers and sold as a slave to some traveling Ishmaelites.
- Jesus was hated by His own people, betrayed and handed over to the Romans to be crucified.
- Both Joseph and Jesus were handed over to the Gentiles by their own people.
- Joseph was sold into slavery for twenty pieces of silver and Jesus was betrayed for thirty pieces of silver. (Genesis 37:28; Matthew 26:15).
- Joseph’s brothers’ hatred for Joseph was rooted in their envy of him and the Jewish religious leader’s hatred for Jesus was motivated by their envy of Him.
Mark 15:9-10 NKJV
9 But Pilate answered them, saying, “Do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?”
10 For he knew that the chief priests had handed Him over because of envy.
- The Jewish religious leaders’ hatred for Jesus and their desire to destroy Him had nothing to do with Him healing on the Sabbath, but that He could heal and they couldn’t!
- Joseph suffered at the hands of his brothers and of the Gentiles. Jesus suffered at the hands of both the Jewish leaders and the Romans.
- Joseph and Jesus both suffered for the sins of others—Joseph for Potiphar’s wife’s false accusation, and Jesus for the sins of all mankind.
- Joseph did not say a word as he was slanderously accused by Potiphar’s wife before Potiphar and Jesus kept silent before Pilate. “He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth.” (Isaiah 53:7).
- Joseph’s brothers thought that Joseph died in captivity. The Jewish leaders thought Jesus had perished. Joseph’s brothers and the Jewish leaders were shocked to find them both alive
- Joseph’s sufferings were orchestrated by God to use Joseph to bring salvation to Israel. Joseph had to suffer for the way of salvation to be available for his family.
“But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.” (Genesis 50:20).
- Jesus’ suffering at the hands of Jewish people and the Romans was orchestrated by God to bring salvation to mankind. Jesus came as a man so that through His sufferings as a man, the way of salvation would be available to mankind.
Acts 2:23 NKJV
23 Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death;
- After Joseph had suffered, He was released from prison and exalted to the right hand of Pharaoh to rule over all of Egypt.
39 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Inasmuch as God has shown you all this, there is no one as discerning and wise as you.
40 You shall be over my house, and all my people shall be ruled according to your word; only in regard to the throne will I be greater than you.”
- After Jesus suffered for our sins at Calvary He was resurrected and ascended into Heaven to be seated at the right hand of the Father.
31 Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.
- Everyone bowed their knee to Joseph and proclaimed him as ruler over all of Egypt.
43 And he had him ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried out before him, “Bow the knee!” So he set him over all the land of Egypt.
- Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father and the day will come when every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. No knee will remain unbent and no tongue can resist confessing Jesus Christ as Lord.
Philippians 2:10-11 NKJV
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth,
11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
- Not one creature will remain resistant or rebellious, even in the depths of Hell. Even those who were Christ haters, who dedicated themselves to opposing God, even Satan himself, will bow their knees to Jesus.
- The Lake of Fire may be a place of torment and a place removed from the presence of God but even there Christ will be acknowledged as Lord!
- Joseph was exalted to the most powerful position in Egypt and nothing could be done unless he consented. When Jesus returns to establish His eternal kingdom all will be perfectly submitted to Him.
44 Pharaoh also said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh, and without your consent no man may lift his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt.”
- Joseph the servant became Joseph the ruler.
- Jesus the Servant will become Jesus the Ruler.
- In His first coming, Jesus came as a Servant. “the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve.” (Matthew 20:28).
- In His second coming, Jesus will come as the Ruler. “And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.” (Revelation 19:16).
- Joseph and Jesus both forgave those who wronged them. (Genesis 45:14-15; Luke 23:34).
- One of the most precious revelations of Jesus Christ in the story of Joseph is his tenderness and love toward his brothers as he prepared for the moment when he would reveal himself to them.
- Unable to shake the guilt of their rash and malicious actions toward Joseph, their terrible secret echoed in their minds and gave them no rest.
Genesis 42:1-2 NKJV
1 When Jacob saw that there was grain in Egypt, Jacob said to his sons, “Why do you look at one another?”
2 And he said, “Indeed I have heard that there is grain in Egypt; go down to that place and buy for us there, that we may live and not die.”
- As the famine throughout Egypt and the surrounding nations worsened, Jacob heard there was provision in the land of Egypt. Jacob sent his sons, Joseph’s brothers, to buy food.
- How like God that the same dream that caused Joseph’s brothers to hate him was the same dream that saved their lives.
Genesis 42:6-7 NKJV
6 Now Joseph was governor over the land; and it was he who sold to all the people of the land. And Joseph’s brothers came and bowed down before him with their faces to the earth.
7 Joseph saw his brothers and recognized them, but he acted as a stranger to them and spoke roughly to them. Then he said to them, “Where do you come from?” And they said, “From the land of Canaan to buy food.”
- Over two decades had passed since Joseph’s brothers last saw him, and they failed to recognize Joseph. They believed Joseph was dead and this man spoke, dressed, and was groomed as an Egyptian.
- As Joseph’s brothers came before him as he sat on his throne they paid him homage and bowed down before him, just as Joseph’s dream had prophesied.
“And Joseph’s brothers came and bowed down before him with their faces to the earth.”
- Joseph acted as if he did not know his brothers and spoke to them as if they were strangers and as if he was suspicious of their intentions.
“Joseph saw his brothers and recognized them, but he acted as a stranger to them and spoke roughly to them.”
Genesis 42:8-9 NKJV
8 So Joseph recognized his brothers, but they did not recognize him.
9 Then Joseph remembered the dreams which he had dreamed about them, and said to them, “You are spies! You have come to see the nakedness of the land!”
- Joseph immediately recognized that what was happening was a direct fulfillment of the dreams God had given him many years before.
- Even though Joseph’s response to his brothers sounded accusatory and rough, Joseph was actually motivated by his desire to restore his relationship with his brothers and see them set free from the shame they carried because of the evil they perpetrated against him.
- However, for Joseph’s brothers to be freed from their past sins and have healthy relationships restored with those around them would be a journey. A journey that God would direct Joseph to take them on and a journey that would not be easy for any of them.
- The broken and unhealthy relationships from which Joseph’s brothers needed restoration and redemption extended far beyond Joseph.
- Their betrayal of Joseph inflicted a very heavy toll on their father, Jacob, who continued to grieve, believing that his beloved son, Joseph, had been killed by some wild animal.
- The shame and guilt Jacob’s sons had to secretly endure as they watched their aging father grieving the death of Joseph year after year would have been unbearable.
- How could Jacob’s sons even try to comfort their father, knowing that his suffering was the direct result of their betrayal and deception, and their hatred for their own brother?
- How could Jacob’s sons ever tell their father what really happened and what they had done to Joseph? Their secret was like an impenetrable wall that held them back from having a healthy relationship with their father.
- Joseph’s brothers’ brokenness extended even to their relationships with one another, having collectively conspired to betray Joseph. Together, they had to hide the terrible secret of what they had done to Joseph. As they came together as a family, instead of experiencing joy and celebration, those occasions were clouded by the constant reminder of their guilt and duplicity.
10 And they said to him, “No, my lord, but your servants have come to buy food.
11 We are all one man’s sons; we are honest men; your servants are not spies.”
12 But he said to them, “No, but you have come to see the nakedness of the land.”
13 And they said, “Your servants are twelve brothers, the sons of one man in the land of Canaan; and in fact, the youngest is with our father today, and one is no more.”
- As Joseph continued to press his brothers with accusations that they were spies they began to divulge some of the details of their family and the tragedy that one of their brothers was now dead. — “and one is no more.”
14 But Joseph said to them, “It is as I spoke to you, saying, ‘You are spies!’
15 In this manner you shall be tested: By the life of Pharaoh, you shall not leave this place unless your youngest brother comes here.
- Then Joseph began to set up the circumstances that would enable them to find freedom and forgiveness from their past. He tested them by telling them to bring their youngest brother Benjamin to Egypt, who was now Jacob’s favourite son, the son of his old age.
16 Send one of you, and let him bring your brother; and you shall be kept in prison, that your words may be tested to see whether there is any truth in you; or else, by the life of Pharaoh, surely you are spies!”
- Joseph demanded that the next time they come to Egypt they must bring their youngest brother Benjamin with them to prove their words were true.
17 So he put them all together in prison three days.
18 Then Joseph said to them the third day, “Do this and live, for I fear God:
19 If you are honest men, let one of your brothers be confined to your prison house; but you, go and carry grain for the famine of your houses.
20 And bring your youngest brother to me; so your words will be verified, and you shall not die.” And they did so.
- Joseph’s brothers thought that the governor of Egypt was testing them to see if their story was true regarding their family. However, Joseph was really testing their hearts to see if they had changed.
21 Then they said to one another, “We are truly guilty concerning our brother, for we saw the anguish of his soul when he pleaded with us, and we would not hear; therefore this distress has come upon us.”
22 And Reuben answered them, saying, “Did I not speak to you, saying, ‘Do not sin against the boy’; and you would not listen? Therefore behold, his blood is now required of us.”
- The brothers began to confess their sins to one another and collectively and individually took responsibility for the great evil they had done to Joseph and how they had hardened their hearts to his cries and tears.
“We are truly guilty concerning our brother, for we saw the anguish of his soul when he pleaded with us, and we would not hear; therefore this distress has come upon us.”
- Then Reuben recalled how they had all greatly sinned and although he had not consented to their actions, he had failed to act decisively and deliver Joseph from their treachery. Reuben passively acquiesced to his brothers despite hearing Joseph’s pleas for help.
“Did I not speak to you, saying, ‘Do not sin against the boy’; and you would not listen? Therefore behold, his blood is now required of us.”
- Joseph’s brothers thought that Joseph had perished at their hands and now there was no remedy for their sins or redemption for their wickedness. They didn’t realize that all along, the brother they thought was dead was standing right in front of them seeking to restore them.
23 But they did not know that Joseph understood them, for he spoke to them through an interpreter.
24 And he turned himself away from them and wept. Then he returned to them again, and talked with them. And he took Simeon from them and bound him before their eyes.
- Joseph’s heart of love for his brothers is seen in his response to the anguish in their hearts as they recounted their betrayal of him. Joseph turned away so his brothers would not see as he wept over their words.
“And he turned himself away from them and wept.”
Genesis 43:2-3 NKJV
2 And it came to pass, when they had eaten up the grain which they had brought from Egypt, that their father said to them, “Go back, buy us a little food.”
3 But Judah spoke to him, saying, “The man solemnly warned us, saying, ‘You shall not see my face unless your brother is with you.’
- After the provision Joseph had given to Jacob’s family began to dwindle, Jacob told his sons to go back and purchase more grain. However, they reiterated that they could not return unless their youngest brother Benjamin returned with them.
1 And he commanded the steward of his house, saying, “Fill the men’s sacks with food, as much as they can carry, and put each man’s money in the mouth of his sack.
2 Also put my cup, the silver cup, in the mouth of the sack of the youngest, and his grain money.” So he did according to the word that Joseph had spoken.
3 As soon as the morning dawned, the men were sent away, they and their donkeys.
- When Joseph’s brothers returned to Egypt with Benjamin they were warmly greeted by Joseph and even enjoyed a royal banquet together. However, the next day Joseph had one of his servants place one of his silver goblets in Benjamin’s sack.
12 So he searched. He began with the oldest and left off with the youngest; and the cup was found in Benjamin’s sack.
13 Then they tore their clothes, and each man loaded his donkey and returned to the city.
14 So Judah and his brothers came to Joseph’s house, and he was still there; and they fell before him on the ground.
15 And Joseph said to them, “What deed is this you have done? Did you not know that such a man as I can certainly practice divination?”
- Shortly after Joseph’s brothers set out for home, Joseph sent some of his soldiers to stop them and accused them of stealing his silver goblet. They all adamantly denied it, but to their utter horror and shock the goblet was found in Benjamin’s sack.
16 Then Judah said, “What shall we say to my lord? What shall we speak? Or how shall we clear ourselves? God has found out the iniquity of your servants; here we are, my lord’s slaves, both we and he also with whom the cup was found.”
17 But he said, “Far be it from me that I should do so; the man in whose hand the cup was found, he shall be my slave. And as for you, go up in peace to your father.”
- Judah and his brothers were dumbfounded and admitted they had no defense or excuse. They resigned themselves to being enslaved and imprisoned.
- However, Joseph’s response was to set all the brothers free to return home and imprison only Benjamin whose sack contained the silver goblet.
“Far be it from me that I should do so; the man in whose hand the cup was found, he shall be my slave. And as for you, go up in peace to your father.”
18 Then Judah came near to him and said: “O my lord, please let your servant speak a word in my lord’s hearing, and do not let your anger burn against your servant; for you are even like Pharaoh.
19 My lord asked his servants, saying, ‘Have you a father or a brother?’
20 And we said to my lord, ‘We have a father, an old man, and a child of his old age, who is young; his brother is dead, and he alone is left of his mother’s children, and his father loves him.’
21 Then you said to your servants, ‘Bring him down to me, that I may set my eyes on him.’ 22 And we said to my lord, ‘The lad cannot leave his father, for if he should leave his father, his father would die.’
- Judah reminded Joseph that he was the one who had asked, “Have you a father or a brother?” Imagine Joseph’s heart wanting to burst with love and embrace Judah and inquire about his father. But Joseph had to restrain himself until the drama played itself out and God’s process of redemption was complete.
- Judah shared the heartbreak their father had endured because of the death of his favourite son, Joseph, who had been close to his heart. Now his brother, Benjamin, Joseph’s only full brother by Rachel, was Jacob’s youngest son.
“We have a father, an old man, and a child of his old age, who is young; his brother is dead, and he alone is left of his mother’s children, and his father loves him.”
- When speaking of Benjamin as Jacob’s beloved son there was no resentment in Judah’s voice, only deep concern for the well-being of Jacob and Benjamin.
“And we said to my lord, ‘The lad cannot leave his father, for if he should leave his father, his father would die.’”
30 “Now therefore, when I come to your servant my father, and the lad is not with us, since his life is bound up in the lad’s life,
31 it will happen, when he sees that the lad is not with us, that he will die. So your servants will bring down the gray hair of your servant our father with sorrow to the grave.
32 For your servant became surety for the lad to my father, saying, ‘If I do not bring him back to you, then I shall bear the blame before my father forever.’
- Judah began to plead with Joseph for mercy, not for himself but for Benjamin and for their aged father Jacob.
33 Now therefore, please let your servant remain instead of the lad as a slave to my lord, and let the lad go up with his brothers.
34 For how shall I go up to my father if the lad is not with me, lest perhaps I see the evil that would come upon my father?”
- The change of heart that had occurred in the intervening years since Joseph’s brothers had betrayed him is clear. They were not about to reject Benjamin as they had rejected Joseph.
- Now Judah requested that he be sold into slavery in place of Benjamin so Benjamin could return safely to their father and Jacob would not die of a broken heart.
1 Then Joseph could not restrain himself before all those who stood by him, and he cried out, “Make everyone go out from me!” So no one stood with him while Joseph made himself known to his brothers.
2 And he wept aloud, and the Egyptians and the house of Pharaoh heard it.
- Joseph saw the true contrition in his brothers’ hearts, their genuine concern for their youngest brother and their father, and their willingness to sacrifice their freedom and their lives for the sake of others. Joseph was so moved that he was unable to restrain himself any longer.
“Then Joseph could not restrain himself before all those who stood by him, and he cried out, “Make everyone go out from me!””
- Joseph stood before his brothers and wept so loudly that everyone in the palace heard him.
- The same brothers who had envied and hated Joseph so deeply were now willing to sacrifice their own lives for Joseph’s younger brother. Joseph was moved to his very being by the sorrow, shame, and regret that they had carried for so many years because of how they had betrayed him.
- Sometimes, because of our past failures, our shame and regret are so great that we are unable to face them let alone receive forgiveness. However, Joseph exposed their secret sins so his brothers could face them and receive forgiveness and freedom.
- No longer were they to be bound by the past and “the skeletons in their closet.”
- Joseph not only exposed their sins so they could be forgiven and freed but he revealed something wonderful to them—they had changed!
- They were no longer the selfish, envious, evil hearted men they had once been. God had been at work in their hearts and lives just as God had been at work in Joseph’s heart and life.
4 And Joseph said to his brothers, “Please come near to me.” So they came near. Then he said: “I am Joseph your brother, whom you sold into Egypt.
5 But now, do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life.
- Through his tears and sobs, Joseph regained enough control over himself to speak such an endearment, “Please come near to me.”
- Joseph uttered words that must have sounded to his brothers as if he had come back from the dead. “I am Joseph your brother, whom you sold into Egypt.”
- There was no resentment in Joseph’s words or his tone, only words to bring comfort to his brothers and to reassure them that God’s hand has been at work from the very beginning.
“But now, do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life.”
- Later on Joseph again reassured them of his love and forgiveness and his desire to bless them.
- Here’s the wonderful blessing of forgiving others. If we love and forgive the person from our heart, the relationship will become even stronger and more loving.
21 Now therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones.” And he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.
- As we study the prophetic insights into the life of Joseph it will help us grasp God’s heart for us. No matter how badly we have failed, Jesus is there to forgive us, receive us, comfort, and help us.
41 Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it,
42 saying, “If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.
- When Jesus entered the city of Jerusalem before His crucifixion He did not express anger or frustration, only sorrow.
- Jesus wept over Jerusalem because He saw that the Jewish people failed to recognize who He was and the salvation He was offering. He foresaw the great calamities they would experience as a result of their unbelief and it grieved Him.
- Jesus’ heart yearns for the day that Israel will turn away from their unbelief and recognize Him as their Messiah and God. “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!” (Matthew 23:37).
Zechariah 13:6 KJVS
6 And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.
- The prophet Zechariah provides prophetic insight into the day when Jesus will return and reveal Himself to His people, Israel.
- It will be a very personal encounter with His people. Just as Joseph commanded the Egyptians to leave as he revealed his true identity to his brothers, this encounter will be just between Jesus and the Jewish people.
- Just as Joseph’s brothers were shocked to find the one who was the governor of Egypt was actually their brother Joseph, so Jesus will reveal Himself to Israel as their Messiah.
- In surprise and shock, Israel will look upon their promised Messiah and see that He carries scars on His body and they will ask Him, “What are these wounds in thine hands?”
- Then Jesus in a gentle and loving way will tell them, “Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.”
- Finally, it will dawn on them who their Promised Messiah is and they will suddenly realize what they did to Him and “then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn.” (Zechariah 12:10b).
- All Israel will look upon Jesus’ scars and they will weep when they realize what they did to Him. He will then speak the most loving words to His people, “Please come near to me.” “But now, do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life.” (Genesis 45:4-5).
- When Jesus returns and reveals Himself to Israel, all Israel will look upon Him and the veil of unbelief will be lifted from their eyes. Every Jew alive at that time will respond in faith and be saved and Paul’s prophecy will be fulfilled.
“And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “The Deliverer will come out of Zion, And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; For this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins.”” (Romans 11:26-27).
Matthew 12:20-21 NKJV
20 A bruised reed He will not break, And smoking flax He will not quench, Till He sends forth justice to victory;
21 And in His name Gentiles will trust.”
- In our times of struggles and failures, if we come to Jesus with a broken and contrite heart, He is there to forgive us, comfort us and gently restore us.
Romans 10:13 NKJV
13 For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.”
- What an amazing and comforting promise. Jesus is always there to respond to us when we call upon Him!
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