Hi, my name is Wade and I have been on the elder team for two years. I came to Riverside shortly after it began, when it was meeting at the Keller Park Missionary Church. I have been a home group leader/co-leader for about six years. I was married to a wonderful woman, Pat, who went home four years ago. We have three adult children and four grandchildren.
The passage you are reading today is Genesis 37. In this chapter we learn about an event that would change Joseph’s life forever, as well as impact future world events. Joseph is seventeen years old and working with his brothers tending the family flocks. We learn that his father, Israel, loved Joseph more than all his other sons. As a sign of his love he made Joseph a multicolored tunic, a loose fitting outer garment. The obvious favoritism toward Joseph created such hard feelings with his brothers they actually hated him. Joseph had a series of dreams that revealed his brothers and parents bowing down before him. When he shared these dreams with his family, the brothers were so jealous and angry they decided to kill Joseph. His brother Reuben intervened and stopped the killing. The brothers removed his tunic and threw Joseph down an empty pit. While trying to decide what to do, a group of Midianite traders passed by. The brothers sold Joseph into slavery, then told their father he had been killed by a wild beast. When the traders arrived in Egypt Joseph was sold to Potiphar, the captain of the bodyguard of Pharaoh.
How can such a sad, evil story be considered during this time of Advent? It is because the life of Joseph in many ways foreshadows the life of Jesus. We have read Israel loved Joseph more than his other sons. God declares that Jesus is his beloved son in whom he is well pleased (Mt. 3:17). Joseph was sold for twenty pieces of silver, Jesus for thirty pieces of silver (Mt. 26:15). Joseph became a servant in Egypt, Jesus took on the form of a servant (Phil 2:7). Joseph was stripped of his tunic; Jesus was stripped by the Roman guard (Mt. 27:28). Joseph’s brothers rejected him and condemned him to death, Jesus was rejected by his family (the Jews) and condemned to death (Luke 19:14, 23:21). In both cases, the salvation of many people was the ultimate result of their rejection. Many other interesting comparisons can be found here:
- As you prepare your heart for the birth of Jesus, reflect on the events of this year and the impact they have had on your life.
- How can the life of Joseph, and the earthly life of Jesus, help you cope with the effect of these events?
There is an old advertising jiggle: Within this vale of toil and sin, your head grows bald but not your chin. Burma-shave.
It is cute and catchy. As we struggle with the problems of this world, remember what Jesus said in John 16:33. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”