24 Feb Three most important lessons in life
15 When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “It may be that Joseph will hate us and pay us back for all the evil that we did to him.” 16 So they sent a message to Joseph, saying, “Your father gave this command before he died: 17 ‘Say to Joseph, “Please forgive the transgression of your brothers and their sin, because they did evil to you.”’ And now, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father.” Joseph wept when they spoke to him. 18 His brothers also came and fell down before him and said, “Behold, we are your servants.” 19 But Joseph said to them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? 20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. 21 So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones.” Thus he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.
How many of you ever hurt and got hurt by someone you really care for? If you do not have your hand raised, you must be an angel in a human form. Everyone should have their hand raised high. It is impossible to not experience pain in a relationship. And every time we experience the pain of hurting someone or being hurt by someone, we have the choice of either letting it go, or carrying that pain with us and becomes extremely weary in the process. All of us know the right answer. We sing it together with our child. “Let it go, let it go, the pain can’t hold me back anymore.” Yet deep inside of your heart, you never let it go. The pain remains there. Pain after pain piles up in your heart. Before too long, your heart becomes frozen, pun intended. My hope today is that the Word of God will unfrozen you. I was going to title my sermon, “Let it go”, with the hashtag #unfrozen. Very creative, I know. The truth is, all of us experienced moments in our lives where we asked the question, “Why is this happening to me? Why is this happening to my family or to the people I love? God, why?” We asked the question, “Why? Why? Why?” And every time it happened, it feels like our ground is sinking deep. We tried to make sense of what’s happening but we could not. And the most painful “why” question often occurs relationally. Your best friend disappointed you, your business partner betrayed you, your spouse cheated on you, or it might be the other way. You might be the one who hurt those around you. For some of you, you might be in that situation right now. And you wonder, “Can I be forgiven?” or “How can I forgive that person?” Today, I want to give you firm foundations to stand on. Strong foundations that will not sink when life hits you with the “why” questions. And to do so, we will take a brief look at the life of one of the most popular figure in the Old Testament, Joseph. I want to focus specifically on Genesis 50 but let me give you a quick 8 minutes run down of Joseph’s life from Genesis 37 to 50.
The Bible said that Jacob loved Joseph more than any of his other sons. Joseph was his dad’s favourite! So whenever they had a family meal together, his brothers would be eating well done steak aka empal while Joseph was eating Kobe beef. His brothers were wearing clothes from Kmart and Target but Joseph was different. Jacob bought him Armani suits. Some of you like, “wait, I did not see Kobe beef and Armani in the Bible.” It is not. This is my modern version of the story. Relax. I am still preaching the Bible. When his brothers saw that their father loved Joseph more than them, they hated him. What makes things worse, Joseph was a dreamer. So he had a dream that his brothers bow down to him. And Joseph told his dream to his brothers! And then he dreamed again. This time, the sun, the moon and eleven stars bowed down to him. Just a side note – if you have a dream that your family and friends bow down to you, just keep it to yourself. It won’t go well with you if you tell them. “Daddy, Mommy, brothers, bow down to me.” Err? So, his brothers hated Joseph. One day Jacob told Joseph, “Jo, can you pause your PlayStation Genesis for a bit and take this food to your brothers?” And Joseph did it. He went to take food for his brothers but he wore his Armani suit to do so. When his brothers saw him from a distance, they had enough of him. So they threw him into a pit and wanted to kill him. But they decided it would be better for them to sell him off as a slave since they would earned money through it. Now let’s pause here. Most of us know what happen next in the story. We read it. We know the ending. And because of it, sometime we forget how evil this is. Imagine this, your own brothers, the one that you lived with for 17 years, the one that you played with, the one that you ate with, tried to kill you and then sell you off as a slave. Anyone has your brothers tried to kill you and sell you as a slave? And this is not an accident. Everything the brothers did to Joseph was intentional. This was an act of pure evil. You can read the story in detail in Genesis 37.
Then in Genesis 38, there is this shady interlude on the story of Judah and Tamar. It is one of the most bizarre chapter in the whole Bible. If you have any questions about that, Edrick would love to answer your questions after the service. Long story short, Joseph ended up at Potiphar’s house in Egypt and become one of his servant. Then you find one of the most staggering statement in the life of Joseph. Genesis 39:2 – The LORD was with Joseph . . . this is not normal. I don’t know about you but being sold as a slave by your own brothers and bought by Egyptian master does not look like the LORD was with Joseph at all to me. Yet the Bible is clear that the LORD was with Joseph and Joseph became very successful. To the point that he caught the attention of Potiphar’ wife. One day Potiphar’s wife walked up to Joseph and said, “lie with me.” She was very blunt. No introduction. She goes straight to the point. Literally what she was saying in Hebrew is, “Jo, sex, now!” She kept doing it day after day and Joseph continued to refuse till finally one day she accused Joseph of trying to rape her and Joseph was send to jail because of it. And again the Bible mention that the Lord was with Joseph in prison. Being accused of rape and sent to prison does not look like the LORD was with Joseph at all to me. But don’t miss the point that the narrator tries to communicate here. Both in high and low point of Joseph’s life, the LORD was with Joseph. The LORD was not only with Joseph when he was promoted by Potiphar but also when he was thrown into jail. In everything Joseph went through, he was never alone. You and I know what happen behind the scene. God was setting the scene in order for Joseph to be promoted into the second person in command over the greatest empire in his time, and through Joseph, many nations and his family will be saved.
Joseph became the Prime Minister of Egypt. Famine hit the land. Joseph brothers came to Egypt to buy food and met Joseph. After few years of interaction, Joseph finally revealed himself to his brothers. His brothers were shocked and were afraid of Joseph. Then comes one of the most famous lines in the whole Bible. Genesis 45:5-8 – “And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. 6 For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are yet five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest. 7 And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. 8 So it was not you who sent me here, but God. He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt.” It was not you, but God. What a powerful line.
Now we’ll pick up the story in Genesis 50. 17 years has passed since Genesis 45. And in those 17 years, Joseph showed nothing but kindness and love toward his brothers. He gave them land to stay, job to do and he provided all their needs. But something happened. Jacob died. And now the brothers were afraid, thinking that now Joseph would pay them back for what they did many years ago. So they lied. They made up a story where Jacob commanded Joseph to forgive his brothers for what they did to him. And when Joseph heard it, he wept. Joseph wept because he realized that even though he had forgiven them for all that they had done to him in the past, his brothers still don’t trust him. Even after 17 years of kindness, his brothers still doubted Joseph’s love and forgiveness. The brothers still carry the burden of pain in their relationship with Joseph. But I do not want to focus on the brothers. I want to focus on the three sentences that Joseph said in response to his brothers. These three sentences are mind-blowing. Derek Kidner wrote on his commentary on Genesis that “each sentence of his threefold reply is a pinnacle of Old Testament and New Testament faith.”
Three sentences. Three lessons. That’s the outline of my sermon. And I believe that if you truly grasp what Joseph is saying here, you will be freed of your burden today. Whether it is the burden of guilt or pain, the burden of guilt for being the offender or the burden of pain for being the offended, Joseph’s three sentences have the power to remove your burden. And I believe this is the main point of Joseph’s story in Genesis. I do not think that the main point of Joseph’s story is that if you say no to Potiphar’s wife and do your best in prison, then God will promote you to be the Prime Minister of Australia. No, that’s too shallow. That’s only reading on the surface. The whole point of Joseph’s story is to help us understand that there is a God who is in control of history and your life. There is a God who will accomplish his plan no matter what. He is unstoppable. He will not waste a single moment in your life. He is using every single things that is happening in your life to accomplish his greater purpose. Nothing is wasted. He is 100% sovereign over every little details of life and he is good. So, three lessons.
Refuse to play God.
Genesis 50:19 – 19 But Joseph said to them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God?
This is beautiful. Do you realize that Joseph can easily play God in this situation? Joseph is the second most powerful man in the most powerful empire in his days. He can do whatever he wants. He is in the position to be God in the lives of his brothers if he wants. Joseph not only saved the nation of Egypt but he also saves many other nations surround Egypt. He is that powerful and he can easily destroy the lives of his brothers without breaking a sweat. But Joseph refused to play God. He acknowledges the fact that he is not God and he should not try to be one. Max Lucado put it beautifully, “Blessed is that man who discovers that there is only one God and stop applying for the position.” We need to understand that God is God and we are not. Do you know what our number one problem in life is? We are trying to play God for ourselves. This is self-idolatry. What is idolatry? It is when you put something or someone as your greatest affection in life. In playing God, you are putting yourself and what you desire at the centre of everything you do. Your life is marked by the need to control everything and everyone around you. There are two ways that we try to play God and two fruits that comes out of it.
First, we try to play God by thinking that we have the right to decide what is right and wrong for ourselves. This is what happen to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. God told them that they can enjoy everything God created. They are free to do anything they want. However, there is one command. Only one command. That’s all. They have 1 million privileges they can enjoy and only one prohibition – do not eat from that tree. That’s all. How hard can it be? Then a serpent come and says, “Eat from that tree and you will be like God.” What the serpent is saying that, “you don’t have to live under God’s authority. You can be god to yourselves. You can decide what is right and wrong for yourselves rather than trusting God.” So they eat. And that is the beginning of all our problems and that is the heart of all our problems today. We ignore God and try to be God for ourselves. We think we know better than God. We make our opinion the ultimate thing rather than trusting the Word of God. Let me proof to you that this is our main problem in life. Think for a second about your greatest regret in life right now. Some of you might need longer than the other because you have too many. That’s okay. Just pick one. Now look at me. Every one of you have different scenario playing in your head right now. But let me tell you what is true about all of you. Isn’t true that the regret that is playing in your mind right now is caused by you choosing to do things your own way rather than trusting the Bible? Right? How do I know? Because that’s what sin is. Sin is you trying to be God to yourselves.
The second way we try to play God is we try to be God to other people around us. There is a story in the Old Testament that explains this point very clearly. When a Syrian general named Naaman came to Israel to seek cure for his leprosy, he goes to the king of Israel and say, “I need my healing. Heal me!” Then the king of Israel ripped his clothes and says, “Am I God, to kill and to make alive?” What the king of Israel saying is, “Yes I am a king. Yes I am the most powerful man on Israel. But do not ask me to heal you of leprosy. I am just a king. There are many things I can do but healing leprosy is not one of them. Only God can do it. Don’t look to me to meet your deepest need.” And this is very crucial. I love how Kent Hughes put it – “Much of our relational trouble comes from our attempting to be God in other peoples’ lives.” That is very profound. Did you hear it? The main problem in our relationship with one another is we are trying to be God in other people lives. We want to control their lives and we know exactly what is the right thing for them to do and we force our desires on them. This is the recipe of most relational problem in life. Let me put it in contexts of relationship within our church.
First, relationship between pastor and the congregation. Let me use my life as an illustration for this one because I could not in the next two. I am a thinker and I like to think far ahead of time sometime. And one day, God-willing, I’ll become a senior pastor. I do not know when. It might be 3 years from now or 5 years or 10 or maybe 20. I do not know. But one of God’s calling in my life is to pastor a church so it seems very likely that one day I’ll pastor a church. Which church? Looking at the current situation and knowing my parent’s wish, it is a strong possibility that I’ll be your senior pastor one day. Just saying. Some of you think, “Wait, this dude will be my senior pastor? Heck no.” That’s okay. God still loves you and I love you too but I don’t like you. But I already know what my first sermon as a senior pastor will be. I already write it on my notebook. The title of my first sermon as a senior pastor will be – “I am not the Christ.” Why so? Because I know my own heart. I have a savior syndrome. I like to think that I can help others and meet their needs. “If you just follow what I say then your life will be fine.” I like to control other peoples’ lives. And if I am not careful, I’ll be a dictator in church. But the truth is, I make a terrible God for you. I am not designed to meet your deepest need. I am not your answer. I am not your hope. I can’t make anything happen for you. We only have one savior and the last time I checked his name is not Yosia; his name is Jesus. That’s who you need. That’s your answer. My role as a pastor is to point you to him. He is the only one who can meet your deepest need. I can do many things. I can preach, I can counsel, I can give you advice, but I can’t be God to you. And I think one of the most fatal mistake a pastor can do is trying to be God to their church. I am not God so do not come to me to meet your deepest need. You will be very disappointed. And this is applicable to every pastors and MC leaders out there. Leaders, you are not God for your people.
Second, relationship with one another, especially between man and woman. When two people fall in love and get to know each other intimately in a dating or marriage relationship, what usually happen is that they become more attached emotionally and physically with one another. Out of love for another they began to see the need of the other person and try to meet that needs. So far so good. This is normal. But if they are not careful, what happen is they begin to see the deepest need of the other and try to meet that need. You begin to see each other weaknesses and try to be the solution. You try to fix one another. When this happens, the relationship starts to break. Rather than asking the question, “how can I best serve and love him or her?” you began to seek ways to fix him or her. Rather than love and sacrifice, your relationship is marked with fighting for control. There is subtle shift here. You confess with your mouth that Jesus is God but in fact in reality you begin to play God to one another. And this is not going to work. Because you are not designed to be God to another. At some point in your relationship, you should look each other in the eyes, rip your clothes (not too much if you are dating. Just the top part will do. If you are married, you can rip all of it. Top and bottom), and say to one another, “Do not look to me to fulfil your deepest need. Do not look to me for what only God can do for you. I am not your God and I refuse to be one.” If you never do this, your relationship will be filled with demands after demands and it will become an impossible burden for you to carry.
Third, relationship between parents and children. Let me make an obvious but an important disclaimer first. I am not a parent. I do not know how it feels to raise a child, to love a child and wanting the best for your child. I do not know what parents would feel. But I am extremely blessed with parents who love me so much. They desire nothing but the best for me. If anything, sometime I think they love me too much. Here is what I am trying to say. Parents, please listen to me. I am saying this because I love you and I want to set you free from a burden that you should not carry. And I’m saying this in all my limitation and with humility. Parents, you are not, you are not your children’s god. You are not designed to be one. It is an impossible burden for you to carry. The bible tells you that you are to teach your children in the faith and fear of God. You are to train them the best you can to be God-fearing man and woman. You are to discipline them and teach them to trust God. That is what you are called to do. To point them to the one true God. But to go further than that is to play God in their lives. You are not called to dictate your children’s future and make sure that they will never get hurt. Their future is in God’s hands.
I see some eyes are looking at my parents right now. No, this is not a secret message to my parents. For the record, I think my parents did a superb job in raising their children. How do I know? Well, the proof is standing in front of you right now. I would not stand here in front of you and preach the Word of God if it were not for their countless sacrifice and love for me. How many of you think my parents did a good job? If you don’t, God loves you but I don’t like you. Hear me parents. This is the best investment and legacy you can leave to your children. To teach them in faith and to trust God with their lives. Your role is to point them to the one who is greater than you. And then you need to learn to let it go. Trust Christ with your children’s future. Trust Christ with their decisions. Trust Christ with their lives. Will they make stupid mistakes? Of course. I made tons of it. But that is part of the process of learning to walk in faith and trust Christ. Parents, you are not called to be their God. You are not called to ensure their safety and their future. You are called to point them to God. And once you do, you have to let God be God. You are not their God so don’t try to be one. It is an impossible burden for you to carry.
How do you know if you play God in your lives? There are two fruits. First, an excessive worry. Let me quote Timothy Keller here. “Excessive worry comes when you think you are absolutely sure exactly what has to happen, and you are afraid God won’t get it right.” With another word, you look at your life and the lives of those you love, your husbands, your children, your friends, and you are exactly sure what need to happen in your life and their lives. You have it all plan together and your plan is the best. And you are worried that God is not going to get it right. What you are doing is you are actually playing God with your life and the lives of those around you. This is Keller’s words, not mine. Don’t blame me for it. And the other fruit is grudge. Grudge is simply saying to God that God did not know what he was doing and you need to settle the matter with your own hands. It is extremely arrogant. Grudge is saying to God that you know better than God how to deal with your situation. Paul clearly said in Romans 12:19 – “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” This is why Joseph is saying, “Am I in the place of God?” If you hold a grudge, your inability to forgive is a clear evident that you are putting yourself in the place of God. To take things into your own hand, either by trying to control your own lives or the lives of others, is to play god. Joseph refused to play God. Most of our relational problems comes from the fact that we are trying to play God in other peoples’ lives.
See life from God’s perspectives.
Genesis 50:20 – 20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.
When we look at our lives from our own perspective, we can only see one perspective. You either interpret what happen to you as good or evil. It is one way or the other. You are either in the valley or you are in the mountain top. You are either happy because you just get married or you are sad because your spouse just left you. Correct? That is human perspective. Either life is good and God is good, or life is bad and God is bad. But God’s perspective is different. God’s perspectives allow both good and evil at the same time. And this is what Joseph is saying.
First, Joseph admit the reality of evil of what his brothers did to him. Joseph does not play dumb. He is not in denial. He does not say to his brothers, “Well, don’t worry about it. You guys did not know any better at the time. It’s not as bad as it seems. I am okay.” Joseph did not do that. That is what we like to do. I remember one time I preached a relationship series at RYI. And in one of those series, I preached about woman and the role of woman in a relationship. I researched a lot for this particular sermon. I spent long hours. After the series, we gave out a feedback form for them to let me know what they think about the series. Most of them were very positive. But there was one feedback for the sermon on woman and the person wrote, “What does ko Yosi know about woman?” Ouch. And I know exactly who wrote that feedback. Every time I met her, I smiled and I pretended everything was okay. But I was bleeding internally.
This is what we like to do. We like to downplay our situation. Joseph did not do that. Joseph did not deny or diminish what his brothers had done. He speaks directly to his brothers and told them that what they did was evil. It was pure act of evils. It teaches us something about relationship. You do not have to pretend in order to make relationship work. You do not have to pretend it did not really happen. You do not have to pretend that it did not cause you much pain and suffering. You do not have to pretend that you are okay. You have to acknowledge what happen to you. You have to call evil for what it is. Do not say you are okay when you are not okay. Denial does not solve the problem. Admit the fact that you are hurt and what they did to you is not right.
But do not stop there. Joseph does not stop there. He admit that what his brothers did was evil, BUT GOD. Oh how I love these two words. It is probably the best two words you see in the Bible. “Oh yes it was evil, BUT GOD. Oh yes it was very painful, BUT GOD. Oh yes it broke my heart, BUT GOD. Oh yes I thought I was going to die, BUT GOD.” Here is another perspective that Joseph sees when he sees his life from God’s perspectives. “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good.” Listen carefully to what Joseph is saying. He does not say that his brothers meant evil against him, and then when God sees what happen to Joseph, then God responds to the situation and turn it for good. This is not what the verse is saying. God is not in heaven wondering what Joseph’s brothers would do to Joseph and then think of a plan to somehow make everything good. This is not the God of the Bible.
This is what Joseph is saying. “Brothers, you had intention but God also had intention. You were trying to accomplish something but God was also trying to accomplish something. You had a plan but God also had a plan. You meant it for evil but God meant it for good.” In the very same event, there are two different things happening at the same time. But here is the good news: what God meant triumphed over what his brothers’ meant. God will not fail to accomplish his good purpose! It is through the brothers’ evil intention that Joseph ended up saving the lives of many people. I see this clearly in my life when I had leukemia. I keep saying this and I won’t get bored of saying it. Leukemia is one of the best thing ever happened to me. Some people think I am crazy for saying it. But I do not believe for one second that God was surprised when I got leukemia. “Oh no, angel number 040186, why did you not protect Yosi from leukemia?” “Sorry God, I was taking a pee when the enemy attack.” I don’t buy it. I’m not saying leukemia is good. It is evil. It kills many people. And I know the enemy meant evil against me. The enemy wants to kill me with leukemia. But God in Heaven was laughing. “Go ahead and do your things devil. Go ahead and try to kill him. Inflict him with leukemia. While you do your things, I’ll also do my things. You want to kill Yosi with leukemia? I will open his eyes and let him see who I am through leukemia.” Exact same event, two different scenarios. But God always has the last word!
This is why you can breathe and let go of your desire to control and play God. God will not fail to accomplish his good purposes for your life. In fact, let me take it one step further. God has no plan B. He does not. What happened to Joseph was exactly God’s plan for Joseph. That’s why you keep finding phrase “but the LORD was with Joseph.” His brothers’ evil act does not change God’s plan for Joseph. It is the very plan of God to bring Joseph to Egypt. God is weaving his story behind the scene. So you can stop trying to be God. You are not in control; God is. Here is the good news for you. The same God who was with Joseph when he was sold into slavery, the same God who was with Joseph in the house of Potiphar, the same God who was with Joseph in the prison jail, the same God who was with Joseph in the presence of Pharaoh, that very same God is with you. He is with you in your highs and in your lows. He is with you when everything prospers and he is with you when everything falls apart. He is weaving your story behind the scene. No one can destroy God’s plan for you, not even yourself. Some of you are still blaming yourself for what you did in the past. You feel like you missed out on God’s best because you messed up. Right now you feel like you are living in God’s plan Z for you because you messed up the A,B,C. . . No, one thousand no. The Bible is filled with story of people who made a big mess of their life. And God fulfil his purpose for them not despite of their mess but through their mess. The God of the Bible always win. No one can disturb his plan, not even you. Romans 8:28 – And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. All things means all things. Including all your pain and struggles. Including all evil you did and all evil acted against you. God will not waste a single moment of your life. God is not overlooking some of the details in your life. God is orchestrating every single detail of your life. Not even one milliseconds will go to waste. God always win.
A quick side note before we move on to third sentences. God always win. But it does not mean you can see everything that he does now. There will be many times that we do not understand why and how of life. John Piper puts it best, “God is always doing 10,000 things in your life and you may be aware of three of them.” The goal is not trying to figure everything out. The goal is to trust that God is always in control and that he is good. He is weaving a greater story than just simply your life story but he promised that he will make something good out of your life story. He is able to turn the greatest evil into the greatest good. How do I know? Because that’s what the cross is. The cross of Jesus demonstrates men at his worst and God at his best. Jesus’ crucifixion is the greatest tragedy in the history of humankind but it is also the best news for humanity. We can trust this God to make all things work together for good even if we do not see it in our lifetime. He will not fail.
Choose to extend grace.
Genesis 50:21 – 21 So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones.” Thus he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.
Because Joseph knew that he was not in the place of God, and because Joseph knew that God is always working something good through everything that he experienced, Joseph was able to extend grace to his brothers. You can only extend grace to those who hurts you if you truly believe in God’s good providence. Joseph’s brothers have every reason to fear Joseph. What they did was evil and Joseph had the power to make them disappear without trace in a matter of seconds. But Joseph told them to not fear. And not only that, he assures them that he will take care of them and their children. Joseph refuses to play God but he chooses to extend God’s love. What a beautiful story.
Let me say it one more time so all of us are clear. The point of the story of Joseph is not that if you resist temptation of Potiphar’s wife and stay faithful in jail, you will receive the super incredible promotion one day. Some day. Never day. I think you misinterpret the story if you read it that way. You are being too individualistic in your reading and you miss the grand scheme of what God is doing. Because the point of the story is not for us to be Joseph. I mean, seriously. How many of you can say confidently that you are able to live out Joseph’s lives? Trying to be like Joseph will not get rid of your burden; it will add to your burden. So now you go home thinking, “Okay, I need to stop playing God. I need to stop to always trying to control everything. I need to be able to see things from God’s perspectives and I need to call my mother in law and extends grace to her.” Do you know what is happening if you do that? You are trying to be your own God. You are trying to save yourself and it is not going to work. You will go home more frustrated and with more unnecessary burden in your relationship.
So what do we need to do? Let me tell you. You cannot be Joseph. But you can be better than Joseph. How? Because the story of Joseph is ultimately not about Joseph but it is about someone far greater than Joseph and his name is Jesus.
Just like Joseph, Jesus is favored by his father.
Just like Joseph, Jesus leaves his comfort to find his brothers.
Just like Joseph, Jesus is rejected by his own brothers.
Just like Joseph, Jesus has to suffer unjustly.
Just like Joseph, Jesus becomes the second most powerful person.
Just like Joseph, Jesus refuses to play God even though he is fully God. He did not see equality with God a thing to be grasped but he emptied himself by taking a form of a servant.
Just like Joseph, Jesus sees everything that happen to him from God’s perspectives. The cross is both the worst evil and the greatest good in history. The cross is always God’s plan from the very beginning.
Just like Joseph, Jesus extends grace to his enemies. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Just like Joseph, Jesus welcomes us into his family and provides us with everything we need.
My friends, you are not Joseph; Jesus is. Jesus is the ultimate Joseph. The purpose of the story of Joseph is to point us to the supremacy of Jesus. You and I are like Joseph’s brothers. You and I are the one who put Jesus at the cross. It is our sins that bring Jesus to the cross. But Jesus endures the cross for you and me. Jesus took our place on the cross so that we can sit together with him as his family. Joseph understands that God is working something good out of his mess. But Joseph has no idea about the cross of Christ. We do. We see the cross. We see our God came for us and died at the cross. We see how God bring ultimate good from the worst evil. And now if you see the cross of Christ, you can be better than Joseph. You can stop playing God because the one true God has come for you. You can stop trying to be in control because Jesus is in control. You can stop worrying about your life because Christ is always working for good, even in your deepest pain. And now you can extend grace to everyone around you, including those you hate, because you have received the grace of God. In the cross of Jesus, God makes a loud declaration over you, “Forgiven!” and because of it now you can forgive others. You cannot be Joseph but you can be better than Joseph because of what Christ has done for you. Christ has guaranteed that nothing but what is ultimately good will ever happen to you.
- Have you ever play God over your own life? Share what happen.
- Have you ever try to be God to other people around you? Share what happen.
- In the context of relationship with one another in M.C., how are we tempted to play God and how can we avoid it?
- Explain the difference between human’s perspective and God’s perspectives.
- “Exact same event, two different scenarios. But God always has the last word!” Can you see this happening in your life? Tell us your story.
- How does Jesus’ crucifixion portrays the truth in question 5?
- What is the main purpose of the story of Joseph and how did Jesus fulfill it?