Bible Readings for February 12th
I love to imagine what must have been going through the minds of Joseph’s brothers when he revealed himself to them. All we are told directly is that “his brothers could not answer him, for they were dismayed at his presence” (Gen. 45:3). What could they possibly have been thinking when they discovered the brother they had wanted to kill—the brother they had sold into slavery—had become the second most powerful person in the world, seated at the right hand of Pharaoh himself?
But before they are able to compose themselves to formulate a response, Joseph assures them of his forgiveness, explaining that everything they had done had been part of God’s plan to send Joseph to Egypt to preserve a remnant on earth through the famine (Gen. 45:4–8). It is here that we understand a part of how Joseph was able to look past the offenses of his brothers to forgive them—he understood that everything that had happened to him was completely in the control of his sovereign God, so that his life had happened not by chance but according to God’s own purposes. We will look more at this concept when we come to Genesis 50, when Joseph expands on this idea.
Certainly, Joseph’s brothers must have been overwhelmed with guilt and shame when the person whom they had sinned most against in their lifetimes stood before them. But they also must have felt great fear. They had hidden their sin for a long time, but now their sin was exposed by their victim—a man who now had the power to punish them in whatever way that he desired.
In many ways, this scene foreshadows Peter’s sermon on the Day of Pentecost, when Peter had announced this grim reality: “Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified” (Acts 2:36). When the people heard what they had done, we read that “they were cut to the heart,” asking, “Brothers, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37). Just like Joseph’s brothers, they realized that the Jesus whom they had betrayed and executed was seated at the right hand of his Father in heaven, having been vindicated from his death by being named both Lord and Christ.
They crucified this Jesus!
But the gospel according to Joseph accurately foretells the substance of the good news of the gospel of Jesus. Even though my sin caused Jesus to suffer and die on the cross in my place so that I crucified Jesus with my sin and rebellion against the holiness of God, Jesus nevertheless extends forgiveness, mercy, and grace to me, a sinner.
Just as Joseph threw open his arms to the brothers who had sinned against him, so Jesus also opens up all the glory of heaven to me—and to you.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.