Genesis 45:4-5 “So Joseph said to his brothers, ‘Come near to me, please.’ And they came near. And he said, ‘I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life.’”
The grace of God is such a wonderful thing. A foreshadowing of that grace is demonstrated in the account of Joseph and his brothers. Here we have a type of the incredible mercy and grace of the Son of God. In the story of Joseph, we are told of the jealousy and hatred of Joseph’s brothers for him. Eventually, this one who had been shown favor by his father Jacob, was sold into slavery by his brothers. Finally, they were rid of him! However, in God’s wonderful providence, Joseph eventually becomes a great ruler in Egypt. Because of his wisdom and his interpretation of Pharaoh’s dreams, Pharaoh put him in charge of administering the storage of food from the seven plentiful years of harvest in preparation for seven years of famine. It is in the time of famine that we see Joseph’s brothers being reunited with him. In this time of great need, they find themselves at the mercy of Joseph, although they had no idea this ruler was actually their own brother. When Joseph finally revealed himself to them, they were terrified, fully expecting Joseph to exact revenge on them. But to their astonishment, he had mercy on them, saying “don’t be distressed . . . God sent me before you to preserve life.” Here we have a wonderful type of the Son of God.
Jesus, just like Joseph, “came to his own, and his own people did not receive him (John 1:11).” In fact, not only did men not receive the Son of Man, they murdered Him. They wanted to be rid of him forever. However, like Joseph, in spite of all this, He reigns as a great ruler, the King of Kings. And unbeknownst to those who have rejected them, it is Jesus that meets all their needs. Indeed “he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust (Matthew 5:45).” He “opens His hand and satisfies the desire of every living thing (Psalm 145:16),” including those who have rejected Him. For those who eventually recognize Him for who He is and come to the shock of realizing that they’ve been sinning against and rejecting the very One who holds their life in His hands, if they repent, just like Joseph, He does not exact revenge, but blesses us with mercy, and showers on us all the blessings at His disposal.
You see, just like Joseph, Jesus has been sent before us to preserve life. Although He was rejected and suffered death on the cross, in that death he satisfied the just demands of a righteous God for the penalty we all deserve, and He offers forgiveness and life to all those who come to realize their need and turn to Him for that life. This wonderful grace of Jesus is told us elsewhere with these words “whoever comes to me I will never cast out (John 6:37).” Joseph’s brothers turned to Him by the grace of God, and their lives were saved as a result. Just like that, whenever we turn to the Son of God, the one who “became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14),” we too receive life. But it is only those who come to realize and admit their need that will ever come to Him. As Jesus said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick (Mark 2:17).” With these words, He was referring to those who were spiritually sick, i.e., sinners, for it is sinners that Jesus came to save, not those who think they have no need of Him. May God lead many to turn to the only One who alone can preserve life, and beyond that, the One who is so ready to lavish His richest blessings on those who believe.