23 So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe, the robe of many colors that he wore. 24 And they took him and threw him into a pit. The pit was empty; there was no water in it. — Genesis 37:23–24 (ESV)
41 And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.” 42 Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his hand and put it on Joseph’s hand, and clothed him in garments of fine linen and put a gold chain about his neck. 43 And he made him ride in his second chariot. And they called out before him, “Bow the knee!” Thus he set him over all the land of Egypt. 44 Moreover, Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh, and without your consent no one shall lift up hand or foot in all the land of Egypt.” — Genesis 41:41–44 (ESV)38
Rejected. Left to die. Yet God exalted him to save his people. This is the story of Joseph and his family. His brothers hated him with great jealousy. He spoke of God’s provision through his dreams, where he would rule and reign to care for the family, yet they would refuse to bow to him or receive him over their lives.
"Yet through their sin, what they meant for evil God meant for good."
His brothers stripped him of his honor as they ripped his robe off his back. They sent him down to the pit to die, and sold him as a slave for 20 pieces of silver. The family mourned what they thought was a tragic death of Joseph. While this fictitious obituary brought great sadness, it also covered the sin, hatred, and jealousy of the brothers. Yet through their sin, what they meant for evil God meant for good. It was God’s plan that Joseph might save them (Genesis 45:5). They thought he was dead, but God raised him up from the pit of slavery to give him rule and reign in the kingdom of Egypt.
It is sin that brings devastation, destruction, and death into our lives. We refuse to bow to God or receive him as Lord and King over our life. We are the brothers in this story in need of a Joseph. In our sin, our hands plot evil and destruction. We rebel against the only One who can save us. Yet God did not leave us in this state. God’s plan to save his people through Joseph’s life was but a shadow of the things to come. Joseph was a type of Christ, showing us what a rejected, crucified, and resurrected savior-king might look like.
Like Joseph, Jesus was rejected by Israel. Like Joseph, Jesus was betrayed and sold; his life exchanged for mere pieces of silver. Like Joseph, Jesus was cast into the pit of death, as he hung on the cross. Like Joseph, Jesus was raised up from the pit of death, exalted and given all rule and reign in the kingdom of God. Like Joseph, Jesus suffered to save his people and give them life. Jesus is our greater Joseph.
Oh Holy Judge, we praise your extravagant grace.
You see the depths of our destruction and yet you look upon us with tenderness.
We struggle to deny ourselves and receive our true King as Lord over our lives, rushing after our own lusts. And yet, despite our depravity, there is no sin big enough to exhaust the forgiveness of our Father. In Christ, there is more excellence, virtue, and mercy than the whole world could ever exhaust.
For it is this very Christ who drank to the dregs a cup reserved for us.
Stripped of honor, enduring the torture and death we deserved.
This Easter, we rejoice and celebrate that when the Son arose from that pit of death, he brought with him his Church. Out of the mire, consecrated, washed white as snow, hallowed.
Lord, you are the master of taking ordinary means and hopeless situations and using them for our good and your glory. A manger made a crib, water to wine, broken men made kings, the poor and hungry nourished, orphans made heirs. If this is the renewal our eyes can see here on earth, oh how glorious eternity must be! Use us, oh Father, ordinary and hopeless as we may be, to build your kingdom here until we’re called home.