I Am Joseph

It had been 22 years since his brothers had sold him. Believing him to be either assimilated into Egyptian life, or dead, they did not expect to hear, "I am Joseph; does my father still live?" (Genesis 45:3)

Interesting that Joseph should enquire after his father. After Joseph had been rejected by his brothers, he was taken to Egypt and sold into slavery. Egypt represented everything that was evil and contrary to the land of promise. Joseph was, therefore, cut-off from the community of the righteous, and despite his isolation, Joseph survived. Whilst he was separated from his earthly father, his Heavenly Father, the God of Israel, was watching over him. Moreover, God had blessed him and made him to prosper. Thus, Joseph lived; a righteous one among the wicked.

"I am Joseph" is a powerful statement coming from the throne of Egypt. It is a mighty declaration of God's faithfulness. God had preserved him and made him to prosper, in exile, in a foreign land. Joseph was acknowledging that he was still the same son of Jacob. " ... does my father still live?" is as to say, 'Does my father, the faithful Patriarch, the servant of God, the seeker of truth, still live?'. Joseph was still a son of Israel.

The brothers' response is also very interesting. Admittedly, Joseph spoke and was dressed like a gentile. He neither looked nor sounded like one of them. From their perspective he was definitely not a brother, but a foreigner. He was a stranger to them.

This is also significant because remember that this was the brothers' second visit to Egypt and the second time that they had spoken with Joseph, yet, he still had to say, "I am Joseph ..." even then, they still could not acknowledge him. "But his brothers could not answer him, for they were dismayed in his presence." (Genesis 45:3)

There is something more pressing in the brothers' lack of reply; something deeper below the surface requiring some contemplation, something urgent. Joseph's rejection by his brothers is a foreshadow of the rejection of the Anointed One by a future generation.

Perhaps what Joseph's brothers might have seen, and what might have overwhelmed them so as "... to be dismayed in his presence ..." was that at that very moment, when he said, "I am Joseph, does my father still live?" they had a vision in which they saw the future generation who would reject the Anointed One, Yeshua the Messiah, son of David.

Whatever the reason, the revelation that the Great One before them was their brother, whom they rejected, and thus they were overwhelmed in his presence, and incapable of a reply.

Thus Joseph approached his brothers and revealed himself, a second time. "'Please come near to me.' So they came near. Then he said, 'I am Joseph your brother, whom you sold into Egypt.'" (Genesis 45:4)

When the brothers sold Joseph into Egypt, it was a death sentence, they did not expect to see him again. They were certain he would not return from the world of darkness. However, God delivered Joseph and raised him up to save the remnant and to preserve life.

Joseph's rejection by his brothers would result in salvation for the world. His brothers were indebted to him.

"And God sent me before you to preserve a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance." (Genesis 45:7)

Like Joseph before Him, so also, the Messiah will reveal Himself to his brothers, the people of Israel, and they will come near. As it is written, "And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look unto Me whom they have pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn." (Zechariah 12:10)

Just as surely as Joseph revealed himself to his brothers, a second time, so too, the Messiah will come the second time, and in response to His brethren. As He declared, "O Jerusalem Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!

"Behold! Your house is left to you desolate; for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, 'Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the LORD!'" (Matthew 23:37-39)

Likewise, in the same way that God brought salvation through Joseph's rejection, so too, God has brought salvation to the world through His Anointed, Yeshua the Messiah.

May there be many today who receive Him and believe in His Name.

Mark Warren