Feb 11, 2022

(Genesis 44, Mark 14; Optional Psalm 31:15-24, Proverbs 9:1-6)

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GENESIS 44 – A final test for Joseph’s brothers. In Gen 43:34, Joseph highlighted Benjamin as the favored son (compare Joseph as the favorite son more than 20 years ago in Gen 37:3-4). In Gen 44, Joseph carefully sets up a situation where the other brothers could go free and have Benjamin stay as a slave in Egypt (just like the brothers chose 20 years ago for Joseph). But this time the brothers refuse the temptation, showing how much God has convicted and grown them.

Gen 44:14 – Also see Gen 42:6, 43:26, 43:28, and the MANY humble references to themselves as Joseph’s servants. God had fulfilled the dreams He gave so many years ago to Joseph (Gen 37:5-11).

Gen 44:16-34 – By far the longest speech God records of any of the brothers. My summary: “We did NOT steal from you and are very confused about what’s going on. But God has brought to light our sin from years ago (see Gen 44:16 – “God has found out the guilt of your servants”). And now we are ALL here to be your servants, NOT just our youngest brother.”

In this heart-wrenching confession they have no idea that the next chapter will be full of mercy and blessing! Again, we need to hear both the warning (compare the years of guilt reflected in Gen 44:16 and 43:18-24) AND promise made to sinners who confess and repent: “Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.” (Prov 28:13, ESV).  And be encouraged by this truth from the hymn God Moves in a Mysterious Way His Wonders to Perform: “You fearful saints, fresh courage take: the clouds you so much dread are big with MERCY and shall break in BLESSINGS on your head.” The next chapters will be an outbreak of incredible mercy and blessing – just on the other side of this painful confession and confusing darkness!

When Joseph makes clear that the OLDER brothers can go free, and just leave the youngest there as a slave, it gets even sweeter…

Gen 44:30-33 – Judah offers himself as a SUBSTITUTE to let Benjamin go home with the other brothers and let JUDAH stay as slave. What a beautiful pointer to Jesus from the tribe of Judah many years later who offered Himself as OUR substitute!

MARK 14 – A long and sweet chapter as Jesus prophesies his burial (Mk 14:8), prophesies that one of the 12 will betray Him (v 18) and they all (correctly) respond with self-examination in v 19. But that self-examination doesn’t last long… Jesus declares that they will ALL leave Him on this night, fulfilling Scripture. But Peter emphatically said (and then the others chimed in) that HE would not leave Jesus. Sadly, they DO all leave Him (just as Jesus said, fulfilling Scripture), and we see Jesus entrusting Himself and His pain to His Heavenly Father’s perfect will (v 36). And indeed, “they ALL left Him and fled” (v 50, fulfilling v 27). But Jesus gave His life as a substitute – HE would drink the full cup of God’s righteous wrath (v 36) that sinners like us deserve. Don’t miss the sweet confidence of resurrection and restoration in v 28!

Mk 14:2 – “NOT during the feast” – the Jewish leaders DID want to kill Jesus, but NOT during Passover. But GOD’S plan is the one that always wins, and HE had written all these details years before in Scripture and they WILL be fulfilled during this Passover week. Jesus is our Passover Lamb (see 1 Cor 5:7)!

Mk 14:6-8 – We know from parallel accounts that the lady who poured out the extravagant perfume on Jesus was Mary (sister to Lazarus whom Jesus raised from the dead – see Jn 11). With all the growing confrontation against Jesus, it might not have felt like what she did would make any difference, but it WAS precious to Jesus (see v 6). I’ve been SO encouraged by what Jesus said in v 8 – “She has done what she could…” Oh, may I not be discouraged by all that I can NOT do, but Lord help me have courage to do what I can, by God’s grace!

Mk 14:27-28 – In other words: “You will ALL fall away, but I’m NOT giving up on you. After my resurrection, I’ll meet with you again in Galilee.”

Mk 14:29 – There are such tiny details of how Peter sinned through the whole book of Mark (see also Mk 9:5-6). Since the earliest days of church history, the Gospel of Mark has been nicknamed “Peter’s Gospel,” since he mentored John Mark and obviously was used by God in the details. He’s not afraid to tell on himself because of the great grace God gives to sinners who humble themselves (see Prov 28:13 and 1 Pet 5:5)!

Mk 14:32-42 – From the hymn Tell Me the Story of Jesus: “Stay, let me weep while you whisper ‘Love paid the ransom for me…’”

Mk 14:61 – “he remained silent” – fulfilling Isaiah 53:7

Mk 14:61-63 – Jesus clearly applying Dan 7:13-14 to Himself, and letting us know why He has preferred the term “Son of Man”. He IS the Christ / Messiah / Promised Anointed One. But the Jews of His day had so politicized the term that they were looking for a PHYSICAL rescue from ROME, when Jesus came to rescue us from our SINS.

Mk 14:72 – “he broke down and wept” – This is how we SHOULD respond when we realize the depth of our sin. And Peter may well have felt that he would no longer be included among Jesus’ followers, especially as a leader. But see Mk 16:7 (“and Peter”) where the Lord made sure His angelic messenger highlighted that Peter WAS included in the group Jesus wanted to be with in Galilee! Hallelujah, What a Savior!!

Optional Psalm 31:15-24 – Complete and joyful deliverance from EVERY rough time is the END of the story for EVERY believer! Heed the strong encouragement of Ps 31:24 (and don’t miss the connection with the PROPER fear of God in v 19 – PROPER fear of God does NOT lead to a cringing, shrinking person but a strong and courageous believer).

Optional Proverbs 9:1-6 – This chapter will present the competing narratives from lady Wisdom (Prov 9:1-12) and the woman Folly (Prov 9:13-18). Don’t turn away from the humbling call in v 4 (don’t shrink away because she calls out to the “simple” and those “lacking sense”). The way of WISDOM ends in LIFE. So humble yourself and listen and live.