Weekly Drash - Vayishlach
Compliments of First Fruits of Zion
Vayeshev – וישב : “And he dwelt ”
Joseph and Messiah
Thought for the Week:
The rejection of Joseph, the agent sent to them by their father, is paradigmatic for Israel’s future rejection of the prophets sent by God and ultimately the rejection of Messiah. The Gospel of John sadly observes, “He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him.” (John 1:11) But the story of Joseph ends with reconciliation between him and his estranged brothers.
The story of Messiah runs parallel to the Joseph story like a second line of narrative. It is the deep mystery of Genesis. It is the story of our Master and His reconciliation with His brothers.
Yeshua, like Joseph, was sent to His brothers, the people of Israel. Like Joseph, He was sent by His father. Like Joseph, His brothers did not receive Him. Instead, He was rejected, stripped, killed, put into the earth, and ultimately given over to the Gentiles.
Like Joseph, Yeshua was variously received among the Gentiles, but eventually rose to an unparalleled position of prominence in the Gentile world. Like Joseph, He became the agent for the salvation of all nations. And like Joseph, He was all but forgotten by His own true brothers.
Just as Joseph was ‘disguised’—made unrecognizable by his Egyptian clothing and hairstyle), so too has the Messiah been made unrecognizable—‘disguised’ by Gentile culture. We have painted Him to look like one of us. We have represented Him in our artwork with Gentile hair, makeup, and clothes. We have made His mouth speak in Greek and in the language of every nation, but we have forgotten that He spoke Hebrew first. We have removed Him from His Hebraic and Torah context and made Him unrecognizable to His own brothers. Yet ultimately, the story of Joseph ends with a reconciliation between him and his brothers, one which results in the salvation of all the sons of Israel. As the Apostle Paul put it, “All Israel will be saved” (Romans 11:26).
Yet the story of Joseph is not an allegory, written merely to serve as type, shadow, and symbol. It is a story in its own right and a great story at that. Joseph is a real character; his adventures and misadventures are his own. If we are able to look into the Joseph story and perceive the person of Messiah, that is only to be expected, because God is the author of salvation both then and now. Joseph’s story is simply an example of what it looks like when God saves His people. Joseph’s story is what it looks like when God raises up a savior. Therefore, it is not so much that the story of Joseph foreshadows the story of Messiah as much as both stories are similar because they both tell the story of God raising up a savior for the salvation of Israel.
Shavuah Tov! Have a Good Week!
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