I was thinking about Joseph's brothers this morning and their reaction to Joseph.
"These are the generations of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old, was pasturing the flock with his brothers. He was a boy with the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah, his father's wives. And Joseph brought a bad report of them to their father. Now Israel loved Joseph more than any other of his sons, because he was the son of his old age. And he made him a robe of many colors. But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not speak peacefully to him. Now Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers they hated him even more." - Genesis 37:2-5 ESV
Joseph caused a conflict for the brothers. He was an obstacle between them and their father. His presence brought out the worst in them. So they got rid of him... but even with Joseph gone leading his life somewhere else he was never really gone.
Standing before Joseph but not knowing it is him the boys, who have grown to be men, mention him.
"And they said, "We, your servants, are twelve brothers, the sons of one man in the land of Canaan, and behold, the youngest is this day with our father, and one is no more."" - Genesis 42:13 ESV
Gone... but not gone.
"Then they said to one another, 'In truth we are guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the distress of his soul, when he begged us and we did not listen. That is why this distress has come upon us.'
And Reuben answered them, 'Did I not tell you not to sin against the boy? But you did not listen. So now there comes a reckoning for his blood.' " - Genesis 42:21-22 ESV
Wow. Here is Joseph stirring it all up again. I imagine Joseph didn't come up in conversation very much but here he was again. Even disguised in his adult role he was stirring the brother up again.
Joseph is a type of Christ. When fallen men come in contact with a perfect son who shows them up in front of there father it brings out the worst in them. Every boy deep down wants his father's approval. Even if he hates him. Every person wants God's validation even if he hates Him.
Joseph had a role as a Savior for his family. Jesus has a role as our Saviour. They are parallel to one another. People are going to react when there weakness is exposed.
"Then Joseph could not control himself before all those who stood by him. He cried, "Make everyone go out from me.'
So no one stayed with him when Joseph made himself known to his brothers. And he wept aloud, so that the Egyptians heard it, and the household of Pharaoh heard it. And Joseph said to his brothers, 'I am Joseph! Is my father still alive?'
But his brothers could not answer him, for they were dismayed at his presence. So Joseph said to his brothers, 'Come near to me, please.'
And they came near. And he 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.' " - Genesis 45:1-5 ESV
'You shall dwell in the land of Goshen, and you shall be near me, you and your children and your children's children, and your flocks, your herds, and all that you have. There I will provide for you, for there are yet five years of famine to come, so that you and your household, and all that you have, do not come to poverty.' " - Genesis 45:10-11 ESV
It is the gift of grace that draws us near to God. It is in fact the only reason we could come to God or would want to come to God. People want a provision for self preservation not intimacy. But on a deep level intimacy is what we were all made for.
I want to be prepared for the fact that people are going to react when Christ is presented to them. It is not a surprise. He is the perfect loved son who brings out the worst in them. He is also their Savior and only hope of making it through the famine that is coming for every person.
Jesus' righteousness kills us but His grace invites us in and gives us robes of righteousness that we did not make ourselves.
"Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure" - for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. And the angel said to me, 'Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.' And he said to me, 'These are the true words of God.' " - Revelation 19:7-9 ESV