A Dream Comes True
Scripture: Genesis 45:1-28 (NRSVue)
This week we reach the climax of the Joseph story—everything has been leading up to this moment. This band of brothers find themselves in one room together, and it is not “Twelve Angry Men,” but rather twelve changed men. Judah rises as the leader of the brothers by courageously taking personal responsibility for his youngest brother Benjamin and his father Jacob. Joseph no longer tests his brothers’ loyalty because they have passed with flying colors—they have learned to put family first above their self-interest. Joseph can now reveal himself to his dumbfounded brothers. And then Joseph says these beautiful words, “come closer to me.” He speaks words of life, forgiveness, and a future over his brothers. The past is over. Today is a new day, a new start. It’s only when the brothers embrace and kiss each other that they really begin to talk with one another for the first time. Since the beginning, their relationship has been riddled with jealousies and competition. But no more. Forgiveness is the last word. Jacob will be reunited in Egypt with Joseph after twenty-years. The family will have food and survive five more years of famine. Jacob’s son Joseph is alive, he is not dead. And so in this Joseph story we experience a wonderful foreshadowing of Jesus, the Son of God’s miraculous resurrection from the dead. Like Joseph’s brothers, like the disciples encountering the newly risen Christ, we too are dumbfounded at God’s unseen hand that has been guiding and providing in mysterious and majestic ways, all along. All we can do is bow the knee before our Lord Jesus Christ in reverence, gratitude, and tears of joy.
September 24, 2023 —
Sermon Art: “I Am Joseph” by Shoshannah Brombacher; pastel and ink on paper , New York, 2008
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Bible Study Questions —
Genesis 45:1-28 (NRSVue)
- In the previous chapter, we see how after a second round of testing, the brothers (and particularly Judah) passed Joseph’s test. How have they changed?
- Now it is safe for Joseph to make himself known. How would you feel being Joseph in this scene? The twelve brothers?
- How have you been helped by a good cry?
- After Joseph reveals himself, the brothers are dumbfounded. He then invites them to “come closer.” Joseph extends forgiveness and grace and they cry and hug together. It is only after this that the brothers, for the first time in their lives, really share and talk with one another. How does God heal the rifts in our relationships? How can we join in with God in this work of peacemaking?
- How does Joseph share a redemptive story out of all that has happened? Who is at the center of his story and their story?
- Extending forgiveness is just as important for us as it is for the other. How might forgiveness be in our best self-interest?
- Sometimes the hardest person to forgive is ourselves. Why is this so?
- In order for the tribe of Israel to enjoy their new life in Egypt, they had to leave some things behind in their journey. What might you need to leave behind as you step out in faith?
- Jacob has experienced his own resurrection in this story, with his heart almost stopping when he heard the news that Joseph was alive. But when the truth of it sunk in, “the spirit of Jacob revived.” Have you ever experienced a revival in your own life before?
Other Sermons In This Series
October 01, 2023
August 20, 2023
September 17, 2023