January 19, 2015

Genesis 48 - 50 - Prior to Jacob’s death, Joseph went to see him again with his sons Manasseh and Ephraim.  Jacob told Joseph of the promise God had given him about becoming prosperous and numerous.  He also told him he would adopt his two sons and that they would have an equal status with Reuben and Simeon.  

Just then Jacob noticed Joseph’s sons since his eyesight had been poor.  Israel kissed and embraced them and said to Joseph, “I never expected to see your face again and now God has let me see your children as well!”  Joseph put Ephraim on Jacob’s left and Manasseh on his right for Jacob’s blessing.  But Jacob crossed his hands and put his right hand on the head of Ephraim.  Joseph thought Jacob had made a mistake and attempted to move the right hand back onto Manasseh.  But Jacob wouldn’t do it then replied, “I know my son, but I know what I’m doing.  Manasseh will develop into a people and he also will be great.  But his younger brother will be even greater and his descendants will enrich nations.”  

Jacob then informed Joseph that “I am presenting you, as the first among your brothers, the ridge of land I took from the Amorites with my sword and bow.”  Jacob then called his sons together in order to tell them what he expected in the days to come.  Reuben, Jacob’s first born and strength, at the top in honor and power will no longer be at the top any more because he climbed into Jacob’s marriage bed and defiled it.  Simeon and Levi are two of a kind, ready to fight at the drop of the hat... I don’t want anything to do with their vendettas or bitter feuds...A curse on their uncontrolled anger, on their indiscriminate wrath...I’ll throw them out with the trash.  

You Judah, your brothers will praise you...You’re a lion’s cub, Judah, home fresh from the kill, my son... who dares mess with him?  The scepter shall not leave Judah; he’ll keep a firm grip on the command staff until the ultimate ruler comes and the nations obey him.  He will become a winemaker.  

Zebulun settles on the seashore...Issachar is one tough donkey who will give up his freedom and go to work as a slave.  Dan will handle matters of justice for his people; he will hold his own just fine among the tribes of Israel.  Gad will be attacked by bandits but he will rip them up.  Asher will become famous for rich foods, candies and sweets fit for kings.  Naphtali is a deer running free that gives birth to lovely fawns.  Joseph is a wild donkey...with the backing of the Champion of Jacob, the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel,  The God of your father--may he help you!  And may The Strong God, may he give you his blessings.”  Benjamin is a ravenous wolf; all morning he gorges on his kill, at evening divides up what’s left over.  

Jacob then instructed them to bury him with his father in the field of Ephron the Hittite near Mamre in Canaan...Jacob finished instructing his sons, pulled his feet into bed, breathed his last, and was gathered to his people.  Joseph threw himself on his father, wept over him, and kissed him.

Joseph then instructed the physicians of Egypt to embalm his father which took 40 days.  There was also a public mourning by the Egyptians for 70 days.  Joseph then asked Pharaoh for permission to carry out his father’s wish to be buried in Canaan.  So Joseph, along with his brothers and high-ranking officials from Pharaoh, departed in a huge funeral procession.  After arriving at the Atad Threshing Floor just across the Jordan River, they stopped for a period of mourning , letting their grief out in loud and lengthy lament, for 7 days.  They then took Jacob’s body on to Mamre & Abraham’s plot.

After burying Jacob, Joseph went back to Egypt.  All of his brothers returned with him though were concerned that Joseph might still be carrying a grudge towards them now that Jacob was dead so they sent him a message asking if they were forgiven.  

When Joseph receive their message, he wept.  Then the brothers went in person to him and said, “We’ll be your slaves.”  Joseph replied, “Don’t be afraid.  Do I act for God?  Don’t you see, you planned evil against me but God used those same plans for my good.”  He reassured them speaking with them heart-to-heart.  Joseph continued to live in Egypt with his father’s family.  Joseph lived 110 years...At the end, Joseph made the sons of Israel promise under oath, “When God makes his visitation, make sure you take my bones with you as you leave here.”     


John 12:1 - 12:36 - Six days before the Passover, Jesus entered Bethany where Lazarus was living.  Martha served... Mary came in with a jar of very expensive oils, anointed and massaged Jesus’ feet, and wipe them with her hair...Judas Iscariot, even then getting ready to betray Jesus said, “Why wasn’t this oil sold and the money given to the poor?...”  He said this not because he cared two cents about the poor but because he was a thief.  He was in charge of their common fund, but also embezzled them.  Jesus said, “Let her alone.  She’s anticipating and honoring the day of my burial.  You always have the poor with you.  You don’t always have me.”

Word got back to the Jews that Jesus was back in town.  The people came to see Jesus and Lazarus, who had been raised from the dead.  So the high priests plotted to kill Lazarus because so many of the Jews were going over and believing in Jesus because of Lazarus.  

The next day the huge crowd that had arrived for the Passover heard that Jesus was entering Jerusalem.  They broke off palm branches and went out to meet him shouting Hosanna!...

Jesus got a young donkey and rode it, just as the Scripture has it...The disciples didn’t notice the fulfillment of many Scriptures at the time, but after Jesus was glorified, they remembered that what was written about him matched what was done to him...

The crowd that had been at Lazarus’ resurrection was there giving eye-witness accounts.  It was because they had spread the word of this latest God-sign that the crowd swelled to a welcoming parade.

There were some Greeks in town who had come up to worship at Passover. They approached Philip and asked to see Jesus....Philip told Andrew and together told Jesus.  Jesus answered, “Time’s up.  The time had come for the Son of Man to be glorified.  Listen carefully!  Unless a grain of wheat buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat.  But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over.  In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life.  But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you’ll have it forever, real and eternal.  If any of you wants to serve me, then follow me.  Then you’ll be where I am, ready to serve at a moments notice.  The Father will honor and reward anyone who serves me.  Right now I am storm-tossed.  And what am I going to say, ‘Father get me out of this?’  No, this is why I came in the first place. I’ll say, ‘Father, put your glory on display.’” 

A voice came out of the sky; “I have glorified it, and I’ll glorify it again.”  The listening crowd said, “Thunder!”  Jesus said, “The voice didn’t come for me but for you”... Voices in the crowd answered, “We heard from God’s Law that the Messiah lasts forever.  How can it be necessary that the Son of Man ‘be lifted up?‘  Who is this ‘Son of Man’”  

Jesus said, “For a brief time still, the light is among you.  Walk by the light you have so darkness doesn’t destroy you.  If you walk in darkness, you don’t know where you’re going.  As you have the light, believe in the light.  Then the light will be within you, and shining through your lives.  You’ll be children of light.”