Jesus’ Great Desire
“Although Joseph recognized his brothers, they did not recognize him.” (Genesis 42:8 NIV)
Joseph’s brothers had sold him into slavery in Egypt, where he was falsely accused, imprisoned and forgotten, until Pharaoh had two puzzling dreams that God enabled Joseph to interpret. The interpretation was that there would be seven years of plenty, followed by seven years of famine in the land. Because Joseph was able to not only tell Pharaoh the meaning of the dreams, but also provide a plan of action that would save Egypt from ruin, Pharaoh made him second in command. Now Joseph’s brothers have come to get grain from Egypt, because the famine has extended to the land of Canaan where they live, and they don’t recognize this older and wiser Joseph in his Egyptian garb. What would you do if, like Joseph, you were in a position of power and had at your mercy the very people who had set themselves up as your enemies and caused you so much harm?
Amazingly, what Joseph wanted to do was to reveal himself to his brothers, to tell them he forgave them, and to help them in their plight! But before he did so, he sent away all of the Egyptians, so that they would not find out what Joseph’s brothers had done to him. He not only spared their lives, but he covered their sin so others wouldn’t know about it. When he couldn’t contain himself any longer, Joseph cried out, “It’s me! It’s your brother Joseph! Don’t be angry at yourselves for what happened, because God used it to save lives.” Imagine the fear that must have gripped the brothers with the first realization that the brother they had betrayed now had the authority to put them to death! But Joseph reassured them and wept over them.
Did you know that Joseph is a type of Jesus? In other words, his life and actions were symbolic of the life and deeds of our Lord and Savior who was to come. Like Joseph, Jesus has as his greatest desire to reveal himself to those he loves. Today, he’s saying, “It’s me! It’s Jesus, and I want to wash away your sins, cleanse your conscience, and throw away every record of wrong against you!” And while you and I may be cowering before him because of our many failures – even since we have come to know the Lord – Jesus is saying, “I love you and I want to forgive you and help you!” Joseph reached out to his brothers, not because they were good brothers, but because he loved them; and Jesus loves you and me today, not because we’ve earned his love, but because he is love.
After revealing himself, Joseph beckoned to his brothers, “Come close to me” (Genesis 45:4). Do you know that Jesus is saying the same to you and me today? He desires to reveal himself to us and to have us come close to him. How will we respond to his loving invitation?