The Life of Joseph

One of the great examples of the workings of God can be found in the story of Joseph in the Old Testament book of Genesis. The entire narrative can be found in Genesis 37-50. This story constitutes one fourth of the book of Genesis. It is the kind of story that will make for some great family reading time over the course of a week.

The climax of the plot in the life of Joseph comes after God has used him to rescue Egypt from famine and placed him as the second-in-charge over the whole nation. His estranged brothers arrive in Egypt begging for food, not knowing that the master of the land is the brother they had sold into slavery. The key verse is found in Genesis 50:20 where Joseph once-and-for-all offers forgiveness to his brothers for the wrong they had done to him:

20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. 

The Trial of Jesus

There is no greater attempt at injustice in the history of earth than the trial and condemnation of Jesus. We should hear echoes of the Joseph narrative in the tragically ironic trial of Jesus.

Mark 14:53-65

53 And they led Jesus to the high priest. And all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes came together. 

54 And Peter had followed him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest. And he was sitting with the guards and warming himself at the fire. 

55 Now the chief priests and the whole Council were seeking testimony against Jesus to put him to death, but they found none. 

56 For many bore false witness against him, but their testimony did not agree. 

57 And some stood up and bore false witness against him, saying, 

58 “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another, not made with hands.'” 

59 Yet even about this their testimony did not agree. 

60 And the high priest stood up in the midst and asked Jesus, “Have you no answer to make? What is it that these men testify against you?” 

61 But he remained silent and made no answer. Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” 

62 And Jesus said, “I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.” 

63 And the high priest tore his garments and said, “What further witnesses do we need? 

64 You have heard his blasphemy. What is your decision?” And they all condemned him as deserving death.

65 And some began to spit on him and to cover his face and to strike him, saying to him, “Prophesy!” And the guards received him with blows.

Tragic Irony

The story of Jesus’ trial is full of tragic irony. False witnesses were organized to conspire against Jesus, but they could not even agree in their testimony. Jesus largely remained silent, but when he did open his mouth he spoke only the truth about his righteous authority.  Jesus’ truthful testimony is what caused the religious leaders to determine that he deserved death.

The condemnation of Jesus by evil men is the greatest thing in history that God used for good. Humanity is so blinded by sin that we condemn the very best human who has ever lived among us. We bite the very hand that saves us. But it is the mistreated and hated Jesus who God anoints to save those who least deserve his love.

Discussion Questions

  • What were some of the injustices in Joseph’s story?
  • How did Joseph’s mistreatment lead to the salvation of his brothers?
  • Where is the sovereignty of God evident in the story of Joseph?
  • What are some similarities between the life of Joseph and the life of Jesus?
  • How could God be at work in the midst of Jesus’ trial?
  • Why is Jesus the most truthful witness in Mark 14:53-65?
  • What about Jesus’ testimony causes the chief priest to tear his garments?
  • What are some of the ironies of Jesus’ trial?
  • How does the story of Jesus in Mark 14:53-65 affect your life?