Joseph could no longer control himself in front of all his attendants, so he declared, “Everyone, leave now!” So no one stayed with him when he revealed his identity to his brothers. 2 He wept so loudly that the Egyptians and Pharaoh’s household heard him. 3 Joseph said to his brothers, “I’m Joseph! Is my father really still alive?” His brothers couldn’t respond because they were terrified before him.
4 Joseph said to his brothers, “Come closer to me,” and they moved closer. He said, “I’m your brother Joseph! The one you sold to Egypt. 5 Now, don’t be upset and don’t be angry with yourselves that you sold me here. Actually, God sent me before you to save lives. 6 We’ve already had two years of famine in the land, and there are five years left without planting or harvesting. 7 God sent me before you to make sure you’d survive[a] and to rescue your lives in this amazing way. 8 You didn’t send me here; it was God who made me a father to Pharaoh, master of his entire household, and ruler of the whole land of Egypt.
9 “Hurry! Go back to your father. Tell him this is what your son Joseph says: ‘God has made me master of all of Egypt. Come down to me. Don’t delay.
Joseph is having a moment, he’s weeping so loud that his household, and even Pharaoh’s household hears him. He’s weeping because he has just heard his brother Judah, the one who sold Joseph into slavery, offer himself to Joseph as a slave in place of his brother, Benjamin. Judah takes responsibility for the charges against them and to spare his father the grief of losing another son. Joseph realizes that this brother who sinned against him all those years ago has repented of the pain caused by his sin against Joseph, and their father Jacob. Judah has learned to love and to have compassion for his family. Great love has given Judah great courage to sacrifice himself for his family’s sake.
Then Joseph reveals he is not just the second most powerful man in all of Egypt, but that he is their long lost brother Joseph. Terrified, the brothers fear his retribution and punishment by death for their sin against him. But Joseph tells them, “You didn’t send me here…God sent me before you to make sure you’d survive.” Rather than use his power to destroy his brothers, Joseph’s great love gave him the courage to forgive his brothers, to show the mercy they denied him. In a world starving from famine, Joseph was used by God to fulfill God’s promise to Jacob. Joseph was able to ensure the survival of God’s people, his own family, so that through Jacob’s descendants Jesus would be born and “all the families of the earth will be blessed.”
Family dynamics, and the hurt that comes from them, often leaves us scarred and unable to forgive. The great love of God gives us courage to love and forgive. Only when we develop great love can we have the courage to forgive. Joseph acknowledged his brother’s sin, he didn’t minimize it, but he found the strength to love them and the courage to forgive them. It takes great courage to love those that sin against us. Jesus had great love for us, and it gave Jesus the courage to die for us, sinners, and God forgave us, for Jesus’ sake, out of God’s great love for us, so that we can have eternal life.
By Jeneene Reduker
For Pondering & Prayer
Jesus calls us to a life of mercy, love and forgiveness. This requires the great love and courage that comes only from God. We often can’t forgive those who have hurt us, and the thought of loving them is even harder. This is when we call on the Holy Spirit to be at work in our lives to give us great love and great courage to forgive, as God has forgiven us. Is there someone you need great courage to love and forgive?
Prayer: Holy God, give us the courage to love and forgive, as you have loved and forgiven us. This is hard for us and we ask that your Spirit be at work in us perfecting us in your love. Amen.