With Their father dead and gone, Joseph’s brothers needed assurance of forgiveness.
Knowing how they had greatly wronged him, fearing that retaliation was possible from Joseph who was then in a position of great power, they came up with a plan. They would tell him that their dead father had instructed him to forgive. But Joseph did not need that.
He had already forgiven them. The ‘crying party’ they participated in, crying on each other’s neck, was one more experience to cement their relationship. They were brothers again! The brothers were ready to be Joseph’s slaves. They had the greatest difficulty forgiving themselves. But Joseph showed the One who was yet to come, forgiveness personified – Jesus who prayed, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do”.
Joseph’s brothers were successful in Egypt only because ‘Lil Bro’ had already forgiven them. Joseph the forgiving one was blessed with long life. He lived long enough to see his great, great grandchildren by Ephraim and his grandchildren by Manasseh.
Joseph died an accomplished and happy man. He had lived through trickery and treachery and survived. He had known blessings and he lived to bless others. He had lost his mother at birth and lived to bury his father who lived to an old age. His was a varied life of overcoming challenges and celebrating successes.
He was ready to die in peace, and he prepared for it. I wonder which of his brothers outlived him, since we read that he asked his brothers to carry his bones “home” for burial. Home, of course, was where his mother and father were buried, for the Israelites were yet to have their home. That was in the future.
He told them “when God comes to you, you shall carry my bones from here.”
God did come, and God is yet to come.
It is now the liturgical season of Advent. We reflect on God’s coming in Jesus, God’s coming in so many ways. And my prayer is that we faithfully and actively anticipate his coming again.