The Advent season is in full swing at our house. The last few years, we’ve used The Jesse Tree study to help focus on our minds on Christ. We love it and it has become a family tradition. Each day, there is a scripture reading and a devotional thought that brings us all the way from creation to the birth of Jesus. This year we’ve been using The Jesus Storybook Bible for some of our scripture readings. If you have it, you already know how incredible the Storybook is. I love the how the subtitle of the books says it...”every story whispers His name”. We want our kids to know that every story and everything in the Bible points us to Jesus...everything is about Him. I know that I sometimes forget that...I get to thinking that it is about me... I get into the mode of reading the Bible and searching for what the Bible is saying to me, or about me, when I should be looking at the Bible from the viewpoint of searching for what it is saying about Christ.
Last night, using the Storybook Bible, we read the Old Testament story of Joseph. You remember…sold into slavery by his jealous, older brothers…imprisoned and forgotten by everyone in Egypt….blessed by God to basically become the Prince of Egypt. I won't include the whole story from the Storybook, but I wanted to include part of it because of how beautifully Sally Lloyd-Jones weaved it back to Christ. This picks up where Joseph’s brothers, who thought he was dead long ago, have come back to Egypt, needing his help, and are very fearful because they thought that Joseph thought they had stolen from him (see Gen. 45)……
They came and knelt before the new prince. His brothers didn't know that the prince was Joseph. But Joseph knew who they were. Joseph's dream, the one about his brothers bowing down to him was coming true. "It's me!" Joseph cried. When they saw it was Joseph, his brothers were afraid. They had wronged Joseph. They had sinned and they knew it. Now Joseph would certainly punish them. But Joseph looked at his brothers and his eyes filled with tears. Even though his brothers had hurt him and hated him and wanted him dead- in spite of everything- he couldn't stop loving them. His heart, which they had broken, filled up with love, and Joseph forgave them. Joseph threw his arms around them. "Don't be afraid," he said. "Behind what you were doing, underneath everything that was happening, God was doing something good. God was making everything right again." Joseph didn't punish them, he rescued them-he brought God's special family to live safely with him in Egypt. One day, God would send another Prince, a young Prince whose heart would break. Like Joseph, he would leave his home and his Father. His brothers would hate him and want him dead. He would be sold for pieces of silver. He would be punished even though he had done nothing wrong. But God would use everything that happened to this young Prince-even the bad things-to do something good: to forgive the sins of the whole world.
-The Jesus Storybook Bible
For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering.
Romans 8:3a, NIV