Revealed to Jesus
The dreams revealed to Joseph that he would rule. The evidence around him may not have supported God’s message, but Joseph was called to live by faith, not by sight. God had spoken and promised that one day he would rule. Joseph was to live in light of this revelation.
Jesus, too, had to trust His Father’s revelation that one day He would be raised from the grave to rule over the nations. Of course, according to His divine nature, Christ knew all things; God never learns or discovers new information. But, in the mystery of the incarnation, Jesus was also fully human and therefore, according to His human nature, had to learn like anyone else. Luke 2:52 tells us He “grew in wisdom” as well as in stature. If we’re to maintain the integrity of the incarnation and not collapse the human nature into the divine, we must say that according to His human nature, the two-year-old Jesus didn’t know the population of Nigeria in 2019 or the Spanish word for a hamburger. Perhaps more startingly, according to His humanity He wasn’t born knowing and comprehending the fullness of His mission as Messiah. Even this was something that Jesus would have had to learn according to His human nature. This is just as Isaiah prophesied, “The Lord God has given me the tongue of those who are taught, that I may know how to sustain with a word him who is weary. Morning by morning he awakens; he awakens my ear to hear as those who are taught. The Lord God has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious; I turned not backward” (Isa. 50:5).
This is an extraordinary passage. The “Servant” in Isaiah goes on to speak of how He gave His back to those who would strike Him, set His face like flint to accomplish His task, and trusted the Lord to vindicate Him. He knew that one day He would rule, that one day the suffering would end and His Father would restore Him to the position of glory He deserved. We don’t know exactly how Jesus grew in wisdom and in His understanding of His role as Messiah. No doubt He received supernatural revelation from the Father. But He surely learned His messianic in part by reading the Scriptures, the Scriptures that testified about Him. Jesus lived by revelation, and like Joseph, He had to trust that despite His present sufferings, one day He would rule in glory. It was, after all, “for the joy that was set before him” that He “endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb. 12:2).
Revealed by Jesus
Once Joseph received his dreams, he naturally shared them with his brothers. That they reacted with fury wasn’t his fault; he was passing on the truth God had given him. In other words, it wasn’t just revealed to Joseph that he would rule; it was revealed by Joseph that he would rule. So, too, with Christ. Speaking through His Apostle Paul, Christ tells us that “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:10–11). Revelation is full of pictures of Christ seated on the throne, reigning in glory. We have been told where history is going. We know which way the arc is bending. Therefore, to stand with Jesus and uphold His law is to stand on the right side of history, whatever the world may say. Christians are not traitors and rebels; we are loyal subjects of the true King. We are not the “odd ones out,” out of sync with reality. Nor are we out of date, stuck in the past. On the contrary, in light of the resurrection and ascension of Christ, we are men and women of the future, of the coming kingdom. Sometimes churches or denominations abandon Jesus’ standards in order to be “progressive,” but nothing could be more wrongheaded. To liberalize a church theologically is to regress—it is to look to the ruler of this age rather than the coming King. Of course, Jesus is already ruling; it’s just that as yet we don’t see that rule fully worked out. But the call and comfort of Genesis 37 is to trust God’s revelation and live now for the coming King.
Editor’s Note: This post is part of a series on Jospeh and Jesus. Next post.