January 18, 2015

Genesis 45-47 - Joseph couldn’t hold himself any longer, keeping up the front before all his attendants.  He cried out, “Leave!  Clear out--everyone leave!”...But his sobbing was so violent that the Egyptians couldn’t help but hear him.  The news was soon reported to Pharaoh’s palace.  

Joseph spoke to his brothers: “I am Joseph.  Is my father really alive?”  But his brothers couldn’t say a word.  They were speechless- they couldn’t believe what they were hearing and seeing....”I am Joseph whom you sold into Egypt.  But don’t feel badly, don’t blame yourselves for selling me.  God was behind it.  God sent me here to save lives....God sent me ahead to pave the way and make sure there was a remnant in the land, to save your lives in an amazing act of deliverance... 

Hurry back to my father.  Tell him, “your son is the master of all Egypt.  Come as fast as you can and join me here.  I will give you a place to live in Goshen...I’ll take care of you there completely since there are still 5 more years of famine ahead---you won’t want for anything...”  Then Joseph threw himself on his brother Benjamin’s neck and wept, and Benjamin wept on his neck.  He then kissed all his brothers and wept over them.  Only then were his brothers able to talk.  

The story was reported to Pharaoh’s palace...It was good news to Pharaoh and all who worked with him.  Pharaoh then told Joseph to take wagons from Egypt to assist with bringing his family from Canaan to Egypt...And they did just that... Joseph outfitted all the brothers in brand new clothes but he gave Benjamin 300 pieces of silver and several suits of clothes...Then he sent his brothers off...

When they returned to Canaan, they told Jacob, “Joseph is still alive and he’s the ruler over the whole land of Egypt” Jacob went numb; he couldn’t believe his ears but as the brothers continued to share their story, Jacob’s blood started to flow again and his spirit revived along with his decision to go and be with Joseph.  So Israel set out on the journey with everything he owned.  

Jacob arrived in Beersheba and worshiped, offering sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac.  God spoke to Israel in a vision that night...” Yes? Jacob said to God, “I’m listening.”  God said...Don’t be afraid of going down to Egypt.  I’m going to make you a great nation there.  I’ll go with you down to Egypt; I’ll also bring you back here.”  Then Israel left Beersheba along with his sons which are identified including Judah’s sons: Er & Onan (killed in Canaan) Shelah, Perez and Zerah.  The sons of Perez were Hezron and Hamul....  Summing up, all those who went down to Egypt with Jacob...numbered 66.  Counting in the two sons born to Joseph in Egypt, the members of Jacob’s family who ended up in Egypt numbered 70.

Jacob sent Judah ahead to get directions to Goshen from Joseph...The moment Joseph saw Jacob at Goshen, he threw himself on his neck and wept.  He wept for a long time.  Israel said to Joseph, “I’m ready to die.  I’ve looked into your face -- you are indeed alive.”  Joseph told his brothers that he would speak to Pharaoh regarding the land in Goshen since the brothers were shepherds so that the king would let them stay apart in the land of Goshen ---for Egyptians look down on anyone who is a shepherd.  So Joseph and 5 of his brothers went before the king at which time the Pharaoh permitted them to live on the choicest land in Goshen.  “And if you know any among them that are especially good at their work, put them in charge of my own livestock.”  Next Joseph brought his father to meet Pharaoh.  Jacob blessed Pharaoh upon arriving and informed the king that he was 130 years old...Then Jacob blessed Pharaoh again and left.  Joseph took good care of his family as they lived and thrived in Goshen.  

The time came when there was no food anywhere, nor any money to pay for the food that had been stored up by Joseph, so he informed the people to “bring your livestock.  I’ll trade you food for livestock since your money’s run out.”... When the livestock ran out, the people traded themselves and their land for food so that they became slaves to Pharaoh-- asking only for seed to survive, just enough to keep the farms alive.  So Joseph bought up all the farms in Egypt...Joseph reduced the people to slavery from one end of Egypt to the other.  Joseph made an exception for the priests.  Joseph then informed the people that in exchange for the seed that they could plant, when the crops were harvested, a fifth must be given to Pharaoh and four fifths for themselves so you will be able to feed your children.  The people were grateful as they felt Joseph saved their lives and were glad to be slaves to Pharaoh....

Meanwhile, Jacob acquired property and flourished as he lived on for another 17 years.  Before his death, he called for Joseph and asked a favor that he be buried with his fathers and not in Egypt.  Joseph promised following which Israel bowed his head in submission and gratitude from his bed.        

John 11:38-11:57 - Then Jesus, the anger again welling up within him, arrived at the tomb and ordered that the stone be removed...Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and prayed, “Father, I’m grateful that you have listened to me.  I know you always to listen, but on account of this crowd standing here I’ve spoken so that they might believe that you sent me.”  Then he shouted, “Lazarus, come out!”  And he came out...Jesus said, “Unwrap him and let him loose.”

That was a turnaround for many of the Jews who were with Mary.  They saw what Jesus did and believed in him.  But some went back to the Pharisees and told on Jesus.  The high priest and Pharisees called a meeting of the Jewish ruling party and stated, “This man keeps on doing things, creating God signs.  If we let him go on, pretty soon everyone will be believing in him and the Romans will come and remove what little power and privilege we still have.”  

Then Caiaphas, designated Chief Priest that year, spoke up, “Don’t you know anything?  Can’t you see that it’s to our advantage that one man dies for the people rather than the whole nation be destroyed?”  He didn’t say this of his own accord, but as Chief Priest that year he unwittingly prophesied that Jesus was about to die sacrificially for the nation and not only for the nation but so that all God’s exile-scattered children might be gathered together into one people.  

From that day on, they plotted to kill Jesus.  So Jesus no longer went out in public among the Jews.  He withdrew into the country to the town of Ephraim and secluded himself there with his disciples.  The Jewish Passover was coming up...The people were curious about Jesus and whether or not he would show up for Passover.  Meanwhile, the leaders gave orders that he was to be arrested