The Superior Sacrifice
The book of Genesis is the foundational roots for the rest of the Bible and the development of Christianity. Among the several groundbreaking Biblical themes that begin in Genesis, perhaps none is as important as the foreshadowing of God’s plan of redemption (Gen 5-9, 10-11, 22, and 39-50).
Much of what we learn about redemption is found in the life of Joseph (Gen 39-50). Joseph was an incredible man. Joseph was only 17-years-old when his brothers betrayed him and sold him for the price of a slave (Gen 37:12-36). His brothers originally planned to kill him, but Judah persuaded them to sell him instead. This action of course caused a great deal of suffering for Joseph.
Yet, Joseph proved to be a person of integrity. Even when confronted by Potiphar’s wife, Joseph would not betray the trust of his earthly master (Gen 39:8) nor would he betray his heavenly master (Gen 39:9). Joseph’s rejection of Potiphar’s wife resulted in imprisonment where he would suffer still more.
As we know, he eventually was released to serve under Pharaoh. In that role, Joseph would become the second most powerful man in Egypt. Through the events described in the Bible, we see that a great famine eventually resulted in his brothers coming to Egypt for grain. After so many years, they did not recognize their brother, but Joseph recognized them. By manipulating his brothers, Joseph eventually brought his whole family to Egypt where they could survive the famine.
We subsequently see the true faith of Joseph. He could have sought revenge on his brothers because of the personal suffering they caused him. But he did not. Joseph realized that his personal suffering had preserved his family. Indeed, his rise to power was for the good of his family, not for his own glory (Gen 45:7-8). He was able to see God’s hand in human events.
His brothers could not accept this and thought that Joseph would destroy them upon their father’s death. But Joseph forgave them and said to them, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today (Gen 50:20). Joseph certainly reminds us of the integrity and suffering of Jesus, our savior.
Yet, the events in the life of Joseph are not nearly as significant as the events in Jesus’ life. The forgiveness of Joseph pales the forgiveness of Christ.
- Though both were sold for the price of a slave, Joseph was put in an environment where he could rise to become second in the kingdom. Jesus was sold into a position where He would not yet rule over a kingdom, but when He comes into His kingdom, He will reign as King over His kingdom.
- Joseph lived in luxury and was a ruler in the land. Jesus was poor and hated by the rulers of the land.
- Joseph’s came into great power but his influence ended after his death. Christ’s did not come into His great power on earth. His power and influence will continue to grow, however, after His death and it will eventually result in His exaltation so that every knee will bow before Him (Phil 2:9-10).
- Joseph forgave his brothers for sins they committed against him. Jesus died for our sins having committed no sin of His own. So, Jesus is superior in every way. And this is the God-Man who died for us so that we can have peace with God (Rom 5:1).
We are all sinners (Rom 3:23). When we lie, hate, or steal, we have missed the standard God has set for us. The penalty for our sin is death (Rom 6:23); by sinning we have earned that death. That means we deserve to die and be separated from God forever.
But God has a plan. A plan He demonstrated through the life of Joseph and brought to fruition in Jesus.
Christ died for me and he died for you. God demonstrated His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Rom 5:8). The Bible teaches us that Christ took the penalty that we deserved for sin, He placed it on Himself, and He died in our place.
The great news is that we can be saved through faith in Christ. Our works cannot bring us peace with God. Our religions cannot bring us peace with God. We are saved only by the grace of God.
Our salvation is a gift of God (Eph 2:8-9). To receive the gift of eternal life, we must trust Jesus. We must accept the work of Christ on the cross as sufficient to bring me into a right relationship with God.
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