For twelve weeks we have dusted off an old picture album and found old photos that we hadn’t seen before. We’ve discovered God’s plan to send Jesus and pictures of Him from the very beginning of Genesis. If you have just found this series, please start at the beginning and dust off this old picture album and see for yourself. It’s funny how we can look at something and not see the whole picture, until later. A wonderful friend of mine died suddenly, earlier this year. Recently I was looking at old photos of other people and found that my friend was in the background of several of them. I never would have found her picture, except I was looking for someone else’s photo.
That’s sort of how our study in Genesis has been. We thought we were looking at one thing and it turned out to be something totally different. A pleasant surprise. A sweet moment. And today, our study will be one of my most favorite pictures of all.
Last week we saw the beautiful picture of Abraham’s servant seeking a wife for Isaac and finding Rebecca. In it, we found a picture of the Holy Spirit, Jesus and the church. This week we will fast forward a couple of generations and see Pictures of Jesus in Genesis with Rebecca and Isaac’s Grandson, Joseph.
Rebecca and Isaac had two sons, Esau and Jacob. Without spending too much time on the details, Jacob was tricked into marrying Rachael’s older sister, Leah. They, Rachael and Leah, along with various servant girls, gave Jacob 12 sons. Thus we have the 12 tribes of Israel (aka Jacob, his name was changed) Of the 12 sons, only two were born to Jacob and Rachel, one being Joseph.
Joseph was a dreamer. Once he had a dream his brothers would all, one day, bow down to him. And told them! Joseph’s brothers hated him. They thought he considered himself better than they were. To make a long story short, they decided to get rid of him. At first they were going to kill him, but eventually, were convinced not to. Instead, sold him into slavery. He ended up in Egypt.
Because of his exceptional work ethic, Joseph became second only to Pharaoh. I could spend a whole post about the patience of Joseph. He was lied about, thrown into prison for something he did not do, forgotten and abandoned.
In spite of all his trouble ~ even trouble he was innocent of, Joseph kept his faith and eventually, when the time was right, he was blessed and released from prison. Joseph interpreted a dream of the Pharaoh and saved the land from famine. He was given back his position.
But let me back up a bit. Joseph had been lied about and thrown into prison and they threw away the proverbial key. Forgotten. After interpreting his dream, Pharaoh was so pleased with Joseph that he gave him a wife, the daughter of one of his priests.
Famine came to Egypt, but Joseph, due to his understanding of the pharaoh’s dream, had made provisions and saved the land of Egypt. Now, at the same time there was a famine in Canaan, and Joseph’s father and brothers were starving. They made the decision to go to Egypt for help, when they heard there was grain there.
Joseph was the governor of Egypt by this time and in charge of distributing the grain. When his brothers came they bowed down and asked to purchase grain. Joseph recognized them and remembered his dream that they would bow to him, but they didn’t recognize him.
After a series of events Joseph revealed himself to his brothers. They had been cruel to him. They had rejected him and sold him into slavery. Joseph had taken an Egyptian wife and was governor. When his brothers realized what they had done they were mortified.
But Joseph said to them “God sent me before you to preserve for you a posterity in the earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.” Genesis 45:7
The picture we see this week is one of the clearest pictures of Jesus in the whole Old Testament. It’s not as dusty and wrinkled as the previous ones have been. This one is almost pristine.
A son was born into a family and much beloved by his father. He was a shepherd and had ‘lofty’ ideas about life and things. His brothers hated and despised him, to the point that they actually set about to get rid of him. Eventually, selling him for 20 pieces of silver. As far as his father knew he was dead. Joseph was taken to a foreign land away from his kin. Rejected by his brothers, he took a gentile woman as his wife.
It is a perfect picture of Jesus, Beloved by his father. Hated by his own brethren. Killed and resurrected to take a gentile bride, the church.
It is no secret that the Jewish people did not understand that Jesus was indeed their long awaited Messiah. They hated him and put him to death. “They meant it for evil, but God meant it for good.” Genesis 50:20
Just like Joseph’s brothers didn’t recognize him, so the Jewish people didn’t recognize Jesus. Eventually, Joseph revealed his identity to his brothers and graciously forgave them. And in Zechariah 12:10 it is speaking of the second coming of Jesus, when once again Jesus comes to his brothers……”They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as a first born son…” Chapter 13:1 “On that day, a fountain will be opened to the house of David and their inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and impurity.” You can read the whole account from Zechariah 12-14.
And in Romans 11:26 “And so all Israel will be saved.” You can read this whole account in Romans 9-11
In the same way, when Joseph saw how remorseful his brothers were at what they had done to him, he forgave them. So, too, will Jesus forgive his brothers when they see him again and are remorseful for their sins. Do I fully understand this? no. Do I believe it? yes.
After his resurrection, Jesus met his disciples on the Emmaus road, and when they didn’t recognize him, said to them:
“How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Christ (Messiah) have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?”
And beginning with Moses and all the prophets he explained to them the scriptures concerning himself. Luke 24:25-27 ~ ~ ~ And there is so much more I could have added to each story over the past 12 weeks….just know…we have barely skimmed the surface. Another Sunday, perhaps….