7.28.2008

More from Sunday on Genesis 46

Wow, I have to say that I was really excited when I realized that God actively at work during my message. And I wish I would have tuned into it much earlier. I feel like I did a set-up for 2 points and God only had one to make. I feel like I left my friends all hangin without a point 2, even though I set them up for one. But, my reason for preaching is ALWAYS to facilitate our encounter with our living God. That is why I felt the freedom to stop when I did. God had met us and to go this other direction would have diminished his activity among us. It was time to stop. Clearly!

But here is what I wanted to say and how I wanted to conclude our series on Joseph. In addition to what God showed us about worship through change (Jacob's example), Joseph offers us an amazing picture of the messiah - Jesus.

Joseph is given more space in Genesis than any other person. More than Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob. Add to this scenario that Joseph was not Jacob's first-born. He was the first-born of the wife that Jacob first chose... But he had older brothers. Reuben would have been the her-apparent and Joseph's is the life that is recorded.

I love the point that Scott made during the week I was in Colorado, that Joseph is one of the only great heroes of the Bible of whom no transgression is recorded. Joseph is obviously a man set apart.

Joseph is a Jesus picture in a few ways.
He redeemed his own. Just like the savior of Jacob's family was a member of the family, the savior of the human family is a member of the family: the God-man, Jesus.
Joseph was rejected by his own. And then redeemed the very ones who rejected him. John one uses those words to describe Jesus.
Joseph made himself unmistakably known to the family he would redeem. I love thew way that the gospel writers describe with great detail the revelation that Jesus made to his community and the certainty he provided. John's 7 signs and 7 messages. Matthew's connection of Jesus to the messianic prophecies from the OT... and on and on.

Are we reading the Bible backwards to look at such similarities? Are we seeing just what we want to see? Certainly the the Jewish method of interpreting scripture would say NO. The book of Hebrews shows us this long-standing Jewish method as it describes Jesus as a "priest like Melchizidek," referring to a incident in the life of Joseph's great grandpa. Paul (a classically trained Rabbi) likens Jesus to Moses. The Bible itself teaches us to look for patterns of the messiah shown to us in the Bible's OT leaders. So it is absolutely CORRECT to look for such patterns. It is wholly Biblical.

Why did God do that... create pictures of Jesus in the life of faithful people long before Jesus would come to earth? I believe that God gave us these examples for several reasons. 1st, the group of people who originally received these stories were largely unable to read and needed to learn things they could memorize. Narratives are more memorable than lists, facts, rules and precepts. 2nd, examples are unarguable where as a philosophic approach is very arguable. 3rd, it brings a unity to the text of God's revelation (the Bible) that brings credence to His revelation there.

Anyhow, this is what I wanted to say on Sunday. Obviously, I felt like God was finished without this, but I still wanted to say it. So now you have it.

3 comments:

Scott July 28, 2008 at 11:21 PM  

Melchizedek not Abimilech.
:)

Brandi July 30, 2008 at 9:04 AM  

Thanks Bruce...

Diana July 31, 2008 at 12:57 PM  

I'm so glad that we've been going through Joseph's story. I teach Joseph (along with Daniel and Esther) as narratives in a Bib Lit class, and I've been able to pull even more out of the story through the messages these past few weeks. I'm so excited about teaching my Bib Lit class this year. It's always been my favorite, but at the end of the last school year, I had a student tell me that she learned so much more about the Bible in my class because we looked at it as literature, and analyzed those connections and patterns, so now I'm so motivated to make it even better. Perfect timing for us to be looking at Joseph's life at church. Oh, and Sunday was incredible. People definitely met God.

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