Thursday, 20 January 2011

The Life-Giving Son

Genesis 42-43 The years of plenty are now over and the years of famine are here. The whole area is feeling the pinch, including God's wandering family. So Jacob sends his sons to Egypt to get grain. Little did they know what lay in store!

The behaviour of Joseph's brothers suggests that they are bound up with guilt (staring at each other).

At the time of Joseph being sold into slavery, it would seem that Benjamin was either still in Rachel's womb or only just born, and therefore not implicated in the guilt of the older brothers. Jordan makes the point that what follows here, up to the beginning of chapter 45, is Joseph setting up a test for his brothers, not as a tool of revenge so much as to show them something of what he has been through, and more to the point, to see if they will treat his innocent younger brother with same contempt as they treated him all those years ago. He treats Benjamin with greater honour (5 extra portions of food) to see if it will kindle envy in the hearts of their brothers. But it would appear that they have learnt the lesson.

Reuben shows himself to be something of a rash man - offering to kill his sons if he doesn't bring Benjamin back, an utterly stupid offer, hence his father's assessment of him - turbulent as the waters. Better to just let your yes mean yes and your no mean no.

Psalm 19 This is an exquisite Psalm. Both creation and the Law (aka the Scriptures) reveal, not just God, but specifically Christ the Son. Here, the sun is called the Bridegroom - one of the titles of Christ. From the vantage point of the human eye the cycle of the sun, humiliating the "night lights" with its life giving power shining, forth across the whole world, is an enormously simple, yet detailed picture of the gospel. I'll let you chew on it.

The Old Testament scriptures do the same as they lead us through the stories, the sacrifices and the statutes to Christ.

Matt 8:14-22 The life-giving Son gives life and health to all those who come to him. Unlike your mobile phone contracts, this God is not so tight-fisted that you have to lock yourself into a deal with him before you can obtain his blessing.

Most come to Christ merely seeking a worldly blessing - treating this eternal life-giver as a simple genie in a bottle for sourcing temporary blessings. What amazes me is that Jesus is not phased by this - he keeps on giving. Nevertheless, if you want more than a mere worldly blessing, if you want his heart, you must give up everything.

Acts 11:19-30 Most of the Jewish Christians are remaining in their (theological/cultural) comfort zone evangelising to their own kind, but a couple of big hearted people are stepping across the divide - they get it, and the fruit from such endeavour is plentiful.

Just as Joseph - the pre-eminent son of Jacob is opening the abundant grain houses of Egypt, giving life to the world and his own family, so here, the Church, full of the Spirit of the Son, is beginning to feed the world and her emerging, growing family from the heavenly and earthly storehouses to which she has been given unlimited access.

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