Jesus, JACOB, and Joseph

Every now and then I realize how much is implied about Jesus in the “Old” Testament.  The life of Joseph is really this whole foreshadowing of Jesus.

We have this guy who on the surface doesn’t look special.  In Jesus case he comes from Nazareth; in Joseph’s he’s the youngest of the crowd.

Both are blessed with miraculous abilities.  Those around both are threatened by these abilities.  The father-figure of both of them seems to be saying that each is the rightful heir to them.  (Some people believe the many-colored coat carries symbolism within a family of Joseph’s time similiar to the crown with royal families.)

Both are betrayed by those who are supposed to love them.  (Yes, the debates are endless about whether it was the Romans or the Jews who crucified Jesus… but right here I’m thinking about the disciples… whose number was similiar to Joseph’s brothers.  The disciples included Judas of course, the most obvious betrayer.  But also Peter, who betrayed Jesus three times, and of course the group who fell asleep in the garden.)

Both end up in servitude.  Joseph is sold into literally slavery.  Jesus allows himself to be a sort-of servant to pay off the price of our sin.

Joseph ends up at the right hand of the king; Jesus does, too, though obviously the kings are quite different.  Despite the betrayal… almost because of the betrayal, both of the key figures end up liberating the ones who betrayed them in the first place.  Those who follow Jesus and Joseph end up spending centuries as strangers in a stranger land, people not quite at home in the places that they were lead to; this time that the whole peoples spend in exile, is an echo, in turn of Jesus exile on the cross and Joseph’s exile in Egypt… The amazing thing is that we too will have an exodus…


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The stories that speak to our soul begin at a home where things are good. Cinderella is happy with her father. The three little pigs have grown up and are ready to move on. Bilbo Baggins knows his shire. Adam and Eve walk with God in the garden. My story isn’t much different. There was a time and a place where it was so good. There was a community for me. And there was joy. We were filled with a sincere desire to do what God wanted us to do. We possessed explanations and understandings that went a certain distance. We offered security and tradition and laughter. For a lot of years, that was enough. I have this sense that it was also necessary. I have this surety, now, that it certainly wasn’t everything. There were some things that became increasingly problematic as time went by. There was a desire to package things up so very neatly. Sunday morning services were efficient and strategic. Responses to differences of opinion were premeditated. Formula began to feel more important than being real. A real desire for everybody to be one of us, but also a real sense that there is an us, and there is a them. They carried a regret that it has to be this way, but deeper than this regret was a surety that this is how it is. I began to recognize that there was a cost of admission to that group. There were people who sat at the door, collecting it. Those people wished they didn’t have to. But I guess they felt like they did have to. They let some people in, and they left others out. There was a provisional membership. My friends did possess a desire to accommodate people that are different… But it would be best for everyone concerned if they were only a little bit different. I did make many steps forward in this place. Before I went there, there were lies that I believed. Some of the things that I learned there, I still hold on to. But that place is not my home anymore. Those people are not my community anymore. There were times it was hard. I am engaged in a different community now. And I am working hard at finding a place in many different places now, embracing many different kind of families. I don’t always get it right. I am trying and I am learning and I am moving foreward. I have this sense that I am not alone in these experiences. I believe that we are tribe and we are growing. We are pilgrims, looking for a new holy land. Perhaps we won’t settle on the same spot of land. But if you’ve read this far, I am thinking that we are probably headed in the same general direction. I have begun this blog to talk about where my journey is taking me. In every space, we find people who help us along. And maybe we can get to know each other, here. We embrace ideas that provide a structure for the things we believe, and perhaps we can share these too. Maybe we can form a group, a tribe, a community, if we can figure out a way to work through the shadow of these kinds of groups, if we can bigger than the us-and-them ideas that have caused so much trouble in the past. As important as they are, I think the very nature of online interactions will lend itself to something equally powerful. I am stumbling onto these practices that my grandfathers and great grandfathers in the faith engaged in. I am learning about these attitudes and intuitions are so different than the kinds of things we call doctrine today. I don’t know about you, but I am running out of patience, and even interest, in conversations about doctrine. I hope that maybe you’ll share a little something about where your journey is taking you, and maybe our common joys and challenges might help each other along, and we might lift each other up. Thanks for doing this journey with me.

One thought on “Jesus, JACOB, and Joseph”

  1. This is exceptional – and would have fit right in with my Biblical Studies this past week.

    Did you know that only the Greek translation mentions the multi-colored coat? The Hebrew translation is a long sleeved and long tunic.

    I brought up in discussion in our class, the fact that Joseph was sold for silver, as was Jesus.

    The disciples analogy to the brothers is also very interesting. If you read carefully in the story of Joseph, both Reuben and Judah try to look out for Joseph, the eldest brothers really, to ensure that the other brothers do not kill him or leave him for dead. And, of course, it is worth remembering that Judah is the line King David and Jesus will come from.

    And in the end, as Joseph tells his brothers, “Don’t worry, God brought good out of the evil deeds” – we know that God, now, brings us good, blessings, miracles, insights and faith, through horrible and evil situations, etc.

    I think we each begin our own exodus, once we our belief strikes us. So many ‘say’ they believe and they go merrily along, but if you truly believe in Jesus and all that he has promised us, you (at least I do) spend a significant amount of time in thought about it, mystified by it all and wondering what you are supposed to do next. There just isn’t enough time in the day anymore for me, to accomplish all that I am being called to do. My exodus has begun…


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