When Joseph revealed himself to his brothers, they were all present. Simeon who had been imprisoned was brought out to meet Joseph and so was Benjamin, the youngest brother. You will of course remember how Joseph had sent for him to be brought down to Egypt. So, all eleven brothers stood before Joseph in the courts of an Egyptian city. They knew that their very lives were in Joseph’s hands. He had the power to have them imprisoned, and he had the power to even put them to death.
The brothers were shaking with fear when they remembered what they had done to Joseph, throwing him into a pit and selling his off as a slave, then covering up their evil deeds by constantly lying to their father, Jacob. But instead of scolding his brothers and holding these things against them Joseph spoke in kindness and told them that it had been God’s plan to make him ruler in Egypt to preserve their lives during the famine. Joseph calmed his brother’s hearts by saying to them:
“… Come near to me, I pray you. And they came near. And he said, I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt.
Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life.
For these two years hath the famine been in the land: and yet there are five years, in the which there shall neither be earing nor harvest.
And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God: and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.” Genesis 45:4-7
The Bible says that when Joseph saw his brothers, he remembered the dreams which he dreamed about them. He had dreamed about his brothers’ sheaves bowing down to him and he dreamed about the stars, the moon, and the sun all bowing to him. At the time Joseph had no idea what those dreams meant, but when his brothers stood before him begging for bread and pleading for their very lives the meaning of his dreams was totally clear to him.
Joseph also knew the reason why he was hated by his brothers, and why he had been sold into Egypt and then raised to be ruler over all Egypt. Joseph himself said to his brothers, “God did send me before you to preserve life”. God had planned it all. God was in each part of the trials of his life. From the hour he was cast into the pit, from the time he was sold to the Ishmeelites and from the time that he was sold as a slave in Egypt God was ordering all things in Joseph’s life. And it was God who put him in such a place of power in Egypt during the famine so that his brothers and his father would not die of hunger.
The story of Joseph’s elevation as ruler in Egypt to be the saviour of his brothers is one of the greatest stories in all the world. It is more than the rise of a young man from rags to riches. It the story of God making a despised brother become the saviour of his own brothers.
In this way, Joseph is like the Lord Jesus who is our Saviour.
Like Joseph, the Lord Jesus was hated by his own people. The Lord Jesus was betrayed by Judas and sold for 30 pieces of silver. Then he was arrested, beaten by the Romans soldiers and led out to Calvary to die on that cruel cross. And like Joseph, God meant it for good when Jesus suffered and died. It was God’s plan to save sinners. While wicked men nailed our Lord Jesus to that cross it was God’s plan because God had appointed the Lord Jesus to suffer and die as our sin-bearer. It is true that Jesus died on that cross, but it was God’s plan and God’s power at work to save millions and millions of souls from death and hell. You can be saved too. Though you have despised and hated the Lord, it is still true that the Lord Jesus died for His people, sinners of all kinds, that they would be saved. Isn’t that just great!
Joseph then asked more questions about his father, Jacob, and planned to send his brothers back to his father so they would preserve his life in the famine. Joseph told them there would be five more years of famine. He commanded his brothers to take food and to take wagons back to Israel and bring Jacob down to set up home in Egypt. The brothers were to tell their father all about Joseph. They were to talk about the honour and power that Joseph exercised riding in his chariot all through the land of Egypt. They were to go quickly and waste no time to bring their father down to live in Egypt.
Like Joseph, the Lord Jesus sought the honour of His Father. God the Father had sent His Son into the world to seek and save sinners. God the Father ordained that the Lord Jesus would hang on the cross and God the Father poured out His wrath upon His Son on that tree. Everything that the Lord Jesus did, in His life and death, was to obey and to honour His Father. That was His mission and that was His duty. So, you can see that the life of Joseph is a gospel picture of Jesus honouring His heavenly Father. This is much more than a boy going from rags to riches. It is the life of Jesus lived out in the book of Genesis 2000 years before Jesus even lived. This is the marvel of this life-story of Joseph. It is amazing in its parallels and similarities.
Joseph made friends with each of his brothers. Even though they had hated him, Joseph loved them and showed his friendship and his love to them. He threw his arms around Benjamin’s neck and hugged him while the tears flowed down his cheeks. Those tears demonstrated the reality of Joseph’s love for his brother Benjamin. Then he hugged each of his brothers. He held them tight with a strong and long hug, while again his tears rolled down his cheeks. He talked kindly to each of his brothers and for the first time they talked kindly to him. There was then peace in their hearts as they felt the power of the amazing love that was in Joseph’s heart for them.
This is how the Lord Jesus forgives every one of those who repent of the evil they have done unto him. Each repentant sinner is loved with true and genuine love, because the Lord Jesus is the great forgiver. He came into the world to seek and to save sinners. He is not come to condemn but to save. The Lord Jesus will not treat us as enemies or seek to hurt us when we seek his friendship. No matter what wrong you have done or how many times you have sinned against the Lord Jesus, He will pardon you and He will be your friend. Jesus loves to forgive sinners and He has all power to do so through the precious blood that He shed on the cross. Here is a hymn to teach us about Jesus’ power to forgive us our sins.
Would you be free from your burden of sin?
There’s pow’r in the blood Pow’r in the blood:
Would you over evil a victory win?
There’s wonderful power in the blood.
There is pow’r, pow’r, wonder working pow’r in the blood of the Lamb;
There is pow’r, pow’r, wonder working pow'r, In the precious blood of the Lamb.
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