Sunday Ponderings: Severe Mercy

Our pastor continued this week with the series on Joseph. My posting so far has been sporadic, but you can see other sermon summaries here and here. This week focused on Joseph's reconciliation with his brothers.

The passage today was from Genesis 42-45. Our pastor discussed several themes from this passage, including the importance of communication in reconciliation, Joseph's wisdom in his testing and mercy towards his brothers, and so forth. While all of that was wonderful, I want to highlight the imagery of Christ found in this passage. (Read or skim the passage so this will make sense!)

After the brothers leave Egypt for the second time, with Benjamin by their side, a messenger comes back to them saying that the royal silver cup had been stolen. All of the brothers said they had not taken it, and that whoever had should surely die. The cup was found in Benjamin's sack. Upon returning to Egypt, Judah, who had previously offered up Joseph to the Ishmaelite traders as a slave, offered himself in Benjamin's place. He said to Joseph:

Now therefore, please let your servant remain instead of the boy as a servant to my lord, and let the boy go back with his brothers. For how can I go back to my father if the boy is not with me? I fear to see the evil that would find my father.
Judah offers to die in his brother's place, just as Christ does for us.

Later, Joseph reveals himself to his brothers, and acknowledges the Lord's sovereign work in his life. He mentions to them how he was sent ahead to preserve their lives, for he was over all the grain storehouses of Egypt while there was famine in the land. God used the tragedy from Joseph's youth to bring salvation to His people, both spiritually and physically.

While neither Judah or Joseph are like Christ exactly, since they were far from perfect, the imagery is striking, don't you think? I love how this story points forward to Christ's perfect redeeming work for us. How much more is His love for us than even the love among brothers.

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