January 5th, 2019
Dear brothers and sisters,
It’s such a privilege to bring you this New Year’s check-in. And instead of another failed New Year’s resolution may we find peace and comfort and life and forgiveness by looking to the “one thing” that brings us greater joy than anything this world has to offer! The world has a lot to offer (or though it seems) but God offers only one thing, because only one thing matters, But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, 42 but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:41-41 ESV
Here’s our New Year’s check in:
As you recall Joseph was hated and despised by his brothers because their father “loved him more” (Genesis 37:4). Despised because of his dreams, so (they hated him even more,) that one day they would all serve him (Genesis 37:5; 7). And after hearing another dream they hated him even more for his dreams and for his words (Genesis 37:8).
Jacob sent Joseph out to his brothers who were in the field but when they saw him coming from afar, they conspired against him to kill him (Genesis 37:18).
But when Reuben heard it, he rescued him out of their hands, saying, “Let us not take his life.” 22 And Reuben said to them, “Shed no blood; throw him into this pit here in the wilderness, but do not lay a hand on him”—that he might rescue him out of their hand to restore him to his father. 23 So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe, the robe of many colors that he wore. 24 And they took him and threw him into a pit. The pit was empty; there was no water in it (Genesis 37:21-23 ESV).
Joseph: The hatred for Joseph rose to a point where is brothers conspired against him to kill him without a cause (Genesis 37:18).
Jesus: But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: ‘They hated me without a cause’...So from that day on they plotted to take his life (John 15:25; 11:53).
Joseph: When Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe and threw him into a pit (Genesis 37:23-24).
Jesus: And they stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, (Matthew 27:28).
Joseph: They took Joseph's robe and slaughtered a goat and dipped the robe in the blood (Genesis 37:31).
Jesus: He was oppressed, and he was afflicted...like a lamb that is led to the slaughter (Isaiah 53:7).
Joseph: And notice that Joseph never uttered a single word.
Jesus: And like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth (Isaiah 53:7).
Joseph: The pit was empty dark and without water (Genesis 37:24).
Jesus: While on the cross darkness came over the land (Mark 15:33). And Jesus said, “I thirst” (John 19:28).
Joseph: And they drew Joseph up and lifted him out of the pit (Genesis 37:28). Joseph figuratively rose from the dead.
Jesus: He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay (Matthew 28:6).
Joseph: After being raised from the pit Joseph was restored to his father Jacob (Genesis 37:22; 46:29)
Jesus: After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, (Hebrews 1:3)
Joseph was hated by his brothers who conspired to kill him. They threw him into a pit and as he was drawn out a substitute was “slaughtered in his place”. His blood dipped robe was sent back to his father torn to pieces. Only Reuben, (who’s name means “behold a son”) wanted to restore Joseph (who’s name means “he increases”) to his father.
Can you hear the Scriptures saying, “Behold a son who increases”?
Jesus is the Son who increases! The substitute slaughtered in our place. The One torn to pieces! The One risen from the dead! And Jesus raised us out of our pit of sin with His shed blood on the cross! Therefore, who the Son sets free, is FREE INDEED!
IT’S YOUR BLOOD THAT TOOK MY PLACE! In redeeming sacrifice! It washes me white as snow! God’s precious sacrifice!
Dear friends, let us worship Jesus together now and forevermore!
I am reminded that my resolutions fail because I fail. I am reminded that I am not faithful to the things that I have resolved to do because I am not faithful. I am reminded that God does not demand resolutions, does not demand faithfulness in order to be faithful. God IS faithful. God was faithful to Joseph. God is faithful to His people, because God cannot be other.
And God’s faithfulness and love for us is demonstrated in that while I was faithless, He was faithful. While I was a sinner, the Sinless One died for me. While I was an enemy, Christ named me His friend.
And it’s that....that fact that I am an enemy, that reminds me how He was hated. This week on Twitter, someone said that if Christians were more Christlike, the Church would thrive. Someone replied, there was none more Christlike than Christ, and He was mocked, beaten, and murdered. And now that I am His...that I am the beneficiary of His obedience, that hurts me. How could he be stricken, smitten, and afflicted on behalf of those who do not love Him, and yet be so hated?
And I need look no further for the answer to my question than myself. I was selfish, hateful, and prideful. I hated Him because I knew that I owed Him my own life, and because He reminded me that God did, in fact, have a claim on my obedience.
Thankful right now that He did for me what I could not do for myself. God is good!
Thank you Erick, a beautiful reminder of how the gospel always was at the core of how God allowed events to unfold even in ancient times. Always pointing to the gospel!
What great way to start the New Year beholding the Son who increases! Thank you so much Erick!
"they hated me [Jesus] without a cause" John 5:3
This verse in your checkin penetrated my heart.
We had no foundation, no rational logic, no legally sufficient reason to hate this Jesus but our hearts turned cold as ice at the mere sight of this "altogether lovely" Man (Song of Solomon 5:16).
No reason to have "got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him off the cliff."( Luke 4:29) when the deep pits of hell were all we deserved for our lack of worshipping Him.
No justification to have "picked up stones to stone him," (John 8:59) when the stones were in our own hearts.
No just cause to slander Him with the names of our own sin: "Here is a glutton and a drunkard" (Matthew 11:9).
No legal basis to have "kept shouting, "Crucify him! Crucify him!" (Luke 23:21) when His innocence was as clear as day and the impending death should have been our own.
"But they saw him in the distance, and before he reached them, they plotted to kill him."(Genesis 37:18)
When we saw Him coming from afar, we did not see the 'altogether lovely'. We only saw a defaced body of bleeding "rejected and despised" flesh hung up naked on a wooden cross, and then "beat their breasts and went away' (Luke 23:48)
But what was Jesus' response?
He saw us. He....saw...us... deep in our hearts from afar. He left the 99 others and went searching for His one despairing, lustful, gluttonous, fearful, lost and thirsty child. The one Savior coming personally for one child with the one and only solution - the gospel. He quietly stepped out in front of us and threw His chest out wide and full of love to become the bullseye for the arrows of hell and wrath, taking all the guilt and punishment in ...our... place. Amen Erick!: IT’S JESUS' BLOOD THAT TOOK OUR PLACE! And forevermore, we are gifted with joy, forgiveness, righteousness and loved eternally into wholeness.
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him." (Luke 15:20)