[Today: Genesis 45] Jesus is Our Joseph. In this chapter, Joseph reveals himself to his brothers. Joseph holds no ill will against them, for he sees that all of the events that brought him to Egypt were for the salvation of his family.
This chapter of Genesis conveys the account of Joseph revealing himself to his brethren. The occasion of Joseph being so moved is the private conversation he has with Judah at the end of chapter 44. Judah intercedes for Benjamin, offering and preferring to be a slave in Egypt than to return home to Jacob without Benjamin. This is a perfect picture in Judah of Jesus interceding before the Father for sin-sick humanity, offering to take on another’s punishment (our punishment in fact) rather than to return (in Jesus’ case) to heaven without captivity humanity set free to be in His kingdom.
In verse 1, Joseph can contain himself no longer and orders all the Egyptians out of the room that they might not witness his heart poured out to his brethren. This, as well, is a picture of the compassion of Jesus for us as his brethren, bought by His own suffering. Egypt is a type of the world, and the world has no part and no place in the work of redemption either as a witness or as a partaker.
Even though Joseph clears the room, his weeping before his brothers is heard nonetheless as he makes it known who he is to his brothers and plaintively asking if his father does, in fact, yet live. The brothers are stricken speechless before Joseph, unable to grasp what is actually taking place right before their eyes. Joseph sees (v. 4) that his brothers are unconvinced, and he calls them to come near to him, saying plainly that he was Joseph, their brother whom they sold into Egypt. This speaks eloquently as a type and shadow of Jesus himself, calling the skeptical and the unbelieving to him, declaring that he is their brother sold into the sufferings of the Cross for our redemption.
Joseph’s heart (and by extension the heart of Jesus) is not that his brothers grieve or be angry with themselves but rather to see that his epic suffering at their very hands was for the purpose of preserving their lives in the time of famine. We can see in this the true heart of Jesus. He doesn’t want us to fill our hearts with a religious sense of mourning. Mourning does not move the heart of Jesus, for that is not what he wants. What Joseph wants to see is that his brothers believe in who he is and what he has done for them and that all of the events of his life, including their betrayal was all part of a great work of redemption for them. Likewise Jesus doesn’t want our crocodile tears of religious expression but that we as in the case of Joseph believe in who Jesus is (as our Lord and Savior) and that we believe in what He is willing and in fact, has done for each and every one of us in going to the Cross for our sake and providing for our salvation not from a temporal loss but from eternal damnation.
Joseph compels his brothers (v. 7) to understand that in their act of betrayal, God was bringing about His plan on a deeper level to save and to deliver the whole family. From this perspective, Joseph declares (v. 8) that it was God that sent him to Egypt not to suffer alone but to be made a father to Pharaoh and lord of all his house. In light of this (v. 9) Joseph compels them to make haste to bring the entire family to the safety of Joseph’s care, just as in the light of the work of salvation Jesus wants us to make haste to come to Him that we might enjoy the safety and nurture that all who accept Him will enjoy not only in this life but in the life to come.
While staying in Egypt, Joseph’s family will live in the land of Goshen in order to be near to Joseph that all the children and the flocks might dwell together. Goshen means “drawing near” or “to draw near.” In seeing Jesus as a type of Christ, what does this tell us? In coming to Christ, God wants us to dwell in the land of “drawing near” to Him more than any other thought that we might have about our life in Christ. This was precisely the message of Jesus when he called the 12:
[Mar 3:14 KJV] 14 And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach,
What do you think you are called to most of all? What is the high calling in your life? More than preaching, more than going to the mission field, more than any other thing that you might think you are called to – you are foremost and above all called to the spiritual land of Goshen, the place of drawing near the call to be ordained to be with Him – to be with Jesus. Any other idea or plan that you might have is worthless and not of God if this is not your first and your highest response to the work of Calvary on your behalf.
Joseph promises (v. 11) to nourish the family for what he knows by revelation will be five more years of famine in order to keep them from coming to poverty. Do you see how this reveals the heart of Jesus? Joseph is saying in v. 11, “I will nourish you … let you come to poverty…” Where do people get the idea that poverty is ever in the plan of God for their lives? That is blasphemy against the heart of God. Paul declares that Jesus as our Joseph has no desire for us to suffer lack:
[2Co 8:9 KJV] 9 For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes, he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.
Again Joseph urges his brothers to make haste to go to Canaan and return with their father and the rest of the members of the family. He then turns from them and falls on Benjamin’s neck and weeps openly. This heart that Joseph has for Benjamin is a reflection of the heart of Jesus toward us:
[Heb 2:11 KJV] 11 For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified [are] all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren,
The events taking place here are made known to Pharaoh, and he adds his command to the urging of Joseph for them to return to retrieve their father Jacob and the balance of their households and come back again to Egypt to enjoy all the good of the land. The brothers obey, and upon their return to Canaan, inform their father Jacob of all that has taken place. Of all the good news regarding salvation from the famine, Jacob is only interested in one thing – his son Joseph yet lives, and he will see him before he dies.
What are we to learn from this chapter? The whole of the narrative of Joseph is a picture of Jesus as our brother suffering in our behalf that we might be saved from the consequences of sin and to receive forgiveness in ourselves for the blood guiltiness within our hearts as a consequence of our own transgression against the savior.
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