“Higher Things” Reflection for July 3

“Now therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones.” And he comforted them and spoke kindly to them. (Genesis 50:21)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. The story of Joseph and his brothers has all the makings of a great revenge movie. He’s separated from his brothers by their treachery and hatred. Years later he has the power to destroy them and they don’t even recognize him. The problem with the story is, there’s no revenge! Joseph could snap his fingers and get rid of his brothers. But instead, he snaps his fingers and suddenly they are treated like royalty and cared for as they are, his family.

Joseph is a picture of Jesus. Jesus doesn’t give us what we clearly deserve, punishment for killing Him. Instead, He uses His place as the Son of God to save us. To care for us. To forgive us. To give us life. Jesus takes the Law all the way to its awful conclusion: punishment and death. But not for us. For Him!

Everything that Joseph suffered, the Lord used to put Joseph finally into a position where he could provide for his family. Just so, the Lord turns the evil of His crucifixion and suffering and death into the means by which our sins are forgiven and we have life. Just as Joseph was once as good as dead and then was given new life, so Jesus was indeed dead and alive again on Easter.

Joseph, rather than judging His brothers and being harsh with them, spoke kindly to them. So the Lord speaks kindly to you, gentle words of forgiveness at the font and altar and from His Word.

Jesus’ cross and resurrection is all about Him not giving us what we deserve but rather what we don’t deserve. And so we learn not to give others what they deserve because of their sins but to put away their sins and love and care for them as Joseph and Christ. All our sins we meant for evil, but God has worked out all things for good in His Son. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

The sinless Son of God must die in sadness; The sinful child of man may live in gladness; Man forfeited his life and is acquitted; God is committed. (LSB 439:5)

via Higher Things : July 3, 2012 – Tuesday of the Fourth Week after Trinity.

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