Torah Portion: Vayigash Genesis 44:18-47:27
HafTorah: Ezekiel 37:15-28
Tonight I want us to look at ways Joseph teaches us of the Messiah, those events in his life that find parallels in Messiah.
However first I want to take a moment to look at an example of repentance. This Torah portion begins with Judah coming to Joseph and whispering in his ear. He pleads with Joseph to allow Benjamin to return to his father and offers himself in place of Benjamin as a slave. Think back to how all this began with Judah being the one to suggest selling Joseph into slavery. So what moves Joseph when he hears Judah’s plea? In it he sees real repentance. Judah has come to the place of dealing with his past sin. He could have left Benjamin since he had done it before. But here he faces his actions and does not repeat his mistake from the past, but gives himself to save his brother. This moves Joseph for he sees that Judah has changed. He is different than the man who suggested selling Joseph into slavery. Now he would be the slave to help his brother. So it is with us, repentance means being sorry for our past sins and then resolving to change our life and not continue down the same path. This is what happens in our life when we have sinned before G-d and man. We acknowledge our sin, express remorse and choose to not go back to it again.
Now on to how Joseph is a shadow of Messiah: In Genesis 45:1 Joseph was alone with his brothers when he told them who he really was. This reminds us of Romans 11:25-26. When Messiah reveals Himself to Israel He will require no human assistance. It will be Him and His family. We can and should do all we can to prepare the way but in the end it will be Him and His brothers weeping together.
Genesis 45:2 is the third time we see Joseph weeping but here it is openly before His brothers. Where do we see Yeshua showing this emotion in the New Testament? Matthew 9:36 when He saw the multitudes scattered like sheep having no shepherd. In Mark 8:2 Yeshua had compassion on the people who had continued with him for three days with nothing to eat. Matthew 20:34 when Yeshua had compassion on the blind men and touched their eyes. Mark 1:41 when Yeshua had compassion on the leper and touched him and healed him. In John 11:35 Yeshua wept over Lazarus and also in Luke 19:41 Yeshua wept over the city of Jerusalem. I think part of the reason he wept over Jerusalem was that He knew He would be rejected by His people, much as Joseph had been rejected by his brothers. This same rejection continues today with Jewish believers being rejected by friends, family and even by their country. They truly participate in the suffering of Messiah. I would also say for those non Jews who join themselves to the House of Israel through their faith sometimes find themselves cut off from the mainstream of Christian life. They are sometimes looked at as being odd and not so much like the body in general. Scripture, in Zechariah 12:10, tells us this rejection of Yeshua by His family will end and then there will be weeping of joy.
In Genesis 45:5 Joseph tells his brothers to not grieve or be angry because G-d was in this all along, to preserve them. This in Hebrew is “to resurrect them.” Their rejection brought life to the world, just as G-d used Yeshua to bring life to the world. Romans 11:15
Genesis 45:8 explains that this was all G-d’s plan. Yeshua’s crucifixion was also G-d’s plan. (Acts 2:23) It was because of G-d’s love for us that He died.
So as we look at Joseph we should be able through it to see how G-d loved the world and set in place a plan to provide a way for them in Egypt and later through their history even up until today. And He loves us as well and has given us a way – may we all accept it.