rough notes from last night’s sermon in church – I need to jot this stuff down while it’s still fresh in my mind.
Genesis 45 – so familiar to me, and yet…
I don’t think I’d ever thought about it deeply from the point of view of Joseph’s brothers – how they would have felt.
I’d heard people talk about how there are so many parallels between Joseph and Jesus, I was aware of some… but I’d never realised the staggeringly strong parallels in this particular scene:
here are these guys, knowing they’ve done wrong, standing before the throne of the second most powerful person in the world at the time, and suddenly: wow, this super powerful person turns out to be the one they had harmed all those years back. their brother Joseph, whom they’d hated so much that they were going to kill him, but instead they sold him to slave traders – here he is, the most powerful man in Egypt after Pharaoh, someone who holds such power that he could have them all thrown into prison forever, or even killed, and not only could he – they know he’d be totally within his rights. They know that that’s what they deserve.
isn’t this so very much the way we as repentant sinners stand before the throne of God? when we come to repentance, we come to God knowing that we deserve to be punished and that he has the right and the power to punish us. and yet…
and yet Joseph – knowing that his brothers have shown signs of repentance for what they’d done (we see in previous chapters how he has been testing them to see if they’ve changed, and seeing that they have; and also hearing them talk about what they’d done, hearing their acknowledgement of their sin) (for those who aren’t familiar with the story – he could hear them talk without their knowing that he understood, because they thought he was an Egyptian and didn’t realise he knew Hebrew) – where was I? oh yes, Joseph knows they’ve repented. and so instead of the punishment they know they deserve, what they get from him is: grace. abundant, overflowing, staggering grace.
which is so totally the way it is when we come to God in repentance, putting our faith in Jesus – the one who took our punishment so we don’t have to. acknowledging that we have sinned, repenting, thanking Jesus for going through all that for us – we receive abundant, overflowing, staggering, undeserved grace.
thank you, my Lord and my God. please help me to keep remembering the abundant grace you have lavished on me, please help me to stay thankful. I love you. Thank you that you love me, even though I am a sinner. As my older brother Paul once famously said: