“And Joseph 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 … so it was not you who sent me here, but God….’” – Genesis 45:1-15
The account of Joseph and his brothers is a powerful proclamation of how God has a plan, and is working His plan out for us, in spite of our own disobedience and evil intentions. We hear in these chapters in Genesis how Joseph’s brothers were jealous of him, his father’s favorite, and sold him into slavery. We learn later that God used Joseph as a deliverer, to assure that his father and his descendants would live as God intended.
But this story also points us forward to the coming of Jesus and the time when His “brothers” would sell him out for thirty pieces of silver. Just as Joseph was dead to his family, Jesus was dead to us, after being crucified. But God had a plan—to turn evil into good, to turn death into life. Judas and the High Priest and the Sanhedrin meant evil for Jesus, but God the Father used it to preserve life, not just for the Jews, but for all who believe in Jesus Christ as Lamb of God, the once-for-all sacrifice who was dead, but is alive again.
As we continue on in Lent, it is helpful for us to keep the death and resurrection of Jesus ever before us. While Lent is a unique time of repentance and renewal—and we wait until Holy Week to fully observe the days of Jesus’ Passion, Death and Resurrection—still, we are never without the good news that God is at work to bring His purposes to completion.
Let us take time during this Lenten season to reflect, not just on ourselves and our own sinfulness, but also on the working out of God’s eternal purpose, in Jesus Christ our Savior. Let us be thankful and joyful, even as we remain on the narrow path that is Lent.
Almighty God, help us to see in the experience of Joseph, his brothers, and their father, Israel, the good news of Jesus who, though He was dead, is alive again; through the same, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Prepared by Rev. Dr. David Wendell, North American Lutheran Church