Feb 12, 2022

(Genesis 45, Mark 15; Optional Psalm 32, Proverbs 9:7-9)

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GENESIS 45 – Joseph finally reveals who he is to his brothers, who are very shaken at the news (Gen 45:3). This chapter is a beautiful tapestry of the absolute sovereign control of God AND that we still make meaningful decisions and actions that we have responsibility for. Beside Gen 45:5, 7, 8, 9 I’ve written “S” in my Bible margin (for “Sovereignty of God”). Beside Gen 45:4, 11 I’ve written “R” (v 4 is the brothers’ responsibility for their evil choice about Joseph and v 11 is Joseph happily owning his responsibility to care for the very family that was so quick to either kill him or sell him as a slave years ago). I also have an arrow drawn from phrases that emphasize God’s sovereign control (in v 5, 7, 8, 9) to the margin where I’ve written “Yes! See Ps 105:16-22”. In case we wonder if Joseph was just wrong about his God-is-in-complete-control perspective, in Ps 105:16-22 the divinely inspired narrator clearly affirms this (and also that God Himself sent the famine in order to get the tiny but growing nation of Israel to Egypt for hundreds of years, fulfilling Gen 15:12-16).

Gen 45:4 – Compare Gen 50:20a, also spoken by Joseph to his fearful brothers – “you meant evil against me”. Believers do NOT need to put a positive / optimistic spin on things, or hide our eyes that people are sinners that really do intend evil / harm. But, Joseph doesn’t stay frozen on that dark truth, either…

Gen 45:5 – Also see v 7, 8, 9, and compare Gen 50:20b – Although Joseph isn’t NAÏVE about his brothers’ evil INTENT 22 years ago, he’s ALSO very aware that God always wins, and His good, wise, sovereign purposes are FUNDAMENTALLY and DECISIVELY in control, NOT the evil intent of his brothers! This frees Joseph from bitterness and frees him to joyfully serve and provide for the very brothers that wanted him either dead or sold as slave and gone from their lives. THIS is what a Biblical understanding of the sovereignty of God should look like when applied to real life!

Gen 45:24 – “Do not quarrel on the way”. Joseph had heard them recently doing this, out of their guilt (see Gen 42:21-24), and compare Gen 45:5, 8… In other words, “You should NOT have been so mean all those years ago – that was evil. But don’t be too hard on yourselves, either – GOD was at work doing HIS good plan, and that’s the plan that has won out, so hurry up and get our dad and your families and get back here where I can take care of you properly, like God was putting into motion all those years ago when He used your evil intent to send me ahead to Egypt.”

MARK 15 – Jesus drinks the cup of righteous wrath from God the Father (see Mk 14:36), so that all of us who turn to Jesus in faith do NOT have to be forsaken by God, like we deserve.

Mk 15:2 – “King” – Also see Mk 15:12, 17-19, 26, 32. Note the connection with Mk 1:15 – Even though the soldiers were MOCKING Him as King, Jesus really IS the King of God’s Kingdom that He came to preach about.

Mk 15:4-5 – “no answer” – fulfilling Isaiah 53:7. How different from worldly ideas of King!

Mk 15:7 – “Barabbas” means “son of the father” (compare Jesus calling His heavenly Father “Abba” in Mk 14:36). So a son of the father who DESERVED death on a cross goes free, while THE Son of the Father suffers in His place. See some other tender reminders that Jesus is God’s Beloved Son in Mk 1:1, 1:11, 9:7, 14:36, 15:39. What a powerful picture of what happens for each of us who trust in Jesus!

Mk 15:17 – “crown of thorns” – Don’t miss the connection with Gen 3:17-18… Thorns are a key part of the curse that came on the world when Adam and Eve sinned.

Mk 15:24 – All four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) record this detail about the soldiers casting lots to divide up Jesus’ clothes, fulfilling Psalm 22:18 (details given about the cross hundreds of years before they happened).

Mk 15:32 – MOCKED as “Christ” and “King,” but Mark’s Gospel is clear that Jesus really IS the Christ / Messiah / Promised Anointed One (see Mk 1:1) and the King that came announcing the God’s Kingdom (Mk 1:15).

Mk 15:34 – “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?” – This is called “The Cry of Dereliction.” Jesus is quoting Psalm 22:1. Jesus took the righteous wrath of God that all of US deserved so that any of us who trust in Jesus will NEVER be forsaken by God (though we may FEEL that way sometimes) – see Heb 13:5-6. 

Mk 15:37-38 – Jesus clearly was in charge of the moment of His own death, freely laying His life down as God’s perfect Passover Lamb, offered to satisfy the righteous wrath of God. The “curtain of the temple” in v 38 was a very thick curtain that separated the Holy of Holies (symbolizing God’s presence). The curtain being torn from top to bottom is powerfully symbolic of how God the Father has fully accepted His Son’s sacrifice of Himself, and the barrier to God’s presence is now gone! Meditate on Heb 10:19-22 – “…let us draw near…”

Mk 15:39 – The centurion, apparently reflecting on the unusual darkness (v 33) and that Jesus was clearly in charge of laying down His own life, gives his assessment that Jesus is Son of God. This has been a theme all through Mark’s Gospel… In Mk 1:1, 1:11, 9:7 God the Father lets us know Jesus is His Beloved Son. All through the Gospel Jesus is giving evidence that He is at the same time God’s Son AND God in the flesh – God the Son. This was a huge focus when Jesus was being questioned by the high priest the night before (see Mk 14:61-65). And it brings us one more time to a central question in the Gospel, asked by Jesus to His disciples in Mk 8:29 – “Who do YOU say that I am?”

Optional Psalm 32 – A Psalm rejoicing in God’s forgiveness when sinners confess their sin and turn to God. Many think this records the year between David’s adultery with Bathsheba (and murder of her husband in attempted cover-up) and his confession and repentance when confronted (those sad details in 2 Sam 11-12). Romans 4:7-8 are quoting this Psalm as key Old Testament evidence that believers in the one true God have ALWAYS understood (though not with the precision we now know after Jesus) that our hope is NOT in our own goodness, but in coming to God in repentance and faith. We can never be good enough to EARN our forgiveness (only Jesus could pay with His own life on the cross), but God graciously GIVES forgiveness to repentant sinners who turn to Him in faith!

Ps 32:3-4 – A reminder of the painful effects of unconfessed sin.

Ps 32:10-11 – Don’t miss the contrast! There are only two paths, and only the path of trusting Yahweh leads to eternal joy.

Optional Proverbs 9:7-9 – You can tell a lot about whether a person is wise or not by how they receive reproof / correction / rebuke. There are spirals on either path in life – the wise get wiser and wiser with correction, while the foolish scoffer heaps abuse on attempted correction, ensuring that they will be spiral down further and end in destruction.