Fortunately for Joseph’s brothers, Joseph has experienced a change of heart as the familial bonds of love rekindle within him. He begins to heal from the trauma of having been separated from his family in his youth. His heart becomes tender as he weeps, releasing years of pain. Not desiring to punish his brothers, he does not even ask for an apology. He wants to be reconciled with his family.
Though Joseph yearns to resume his rightful place within his family, he cannot achieve it from his position of power. His brothers are too afraid. If Joseph wants to reconcile with his brothers, he must find a way to relate to them not as the powerful governor but as one of them. In a subtle move, Joseph addresses the fears of his brothers by relinquishing his power. In a moment of vulnerability, he asks his brothers to come closer, and thereby removes the “official” barrier—no longer their governor but their brother.
Reconciliation does not happen automatically and often occurs in increments, as it does for Joseph. Christianity has at its heart a downward movement of surrendering power in favor of relationship. God, in Christ, became vulnerable so that we could be reconciled to God. What a remarkable God we have, who surrenders power so that we are able to come closer to the source of reconciling love.
Reconciling God, as we move closer to you, we are drawn into deeper relationships with one another. Heal the brokenness of our lives and create in us a forgiving heart. Grant us the courage to be willing to move toward forgiveness and reconciliation in the example of your son, Christ Jesus. Amen.
Genesis 45 portrays Joseph in a moment of triumph. The trials of the past are over, and his trembling brothers are now in his power. Joseph acknowledges God’s hand in the events of his life and is reconciled to those who attempted to do him harm. Psalm 133 is a brief but exuberant song to the spirit of unity and fellowship that can exist among the members of the family of God. Paul delivers a resounding “no” to the idea that God has rejected Israel. God’s election is irrevocable. The story of Jesus and the Canaanite woman in Matthew 15 illustrates the wide umbrella of God’s mercy. The woman’s faith and persistence serve in a curious way to minister to Jesus. As she becomes a means of God’s grace to Jesus, he extends God’s mercy to her.
• Read Genesis 45:1-15. What relationship in your life needs reconciliation? How will you help bring it about?
• Read Psalm 133. How healthy is your church family? Is there need for greater unity among the members?
• Read Romans 11:1-2a, 29-32. What wounds in your life have brought you a greater understanding of God’s mercy?
• Read Matthew 15:10-28. The writer says, “The work of Christians is to love others, not to change them.” Is this difficult for you?
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