“COME NEAR TO ME”

Scripture Reading: Genesis 45:1-15

“So Joseph said to his brothers, ‘Come near to me, please,’ and they came near. And he said, ‘I am your brother Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. And not do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life.'” (Genesis 45:4,5)

Joseph had given his brothers two tests. He tested them to see if they were still as jealous as they had been in the past (43:34). And he tested their loyalty when he had his silver cup placed in Benjamin’s sack. Would the brothers desert Benjamin in order to escape themselves? Judah took the lead and pleaded to be allowed to take Benjamin’s place (44:33) and he made a very moving speech to Joseph (44:18-44).

After Judah’s speech, Joseph could not control himself (45:1). He asked everyone to leave. When they left, he broke down and wept out so loudly that the Egyptians heard him and so did Pharaoh’s household (45:12). Then Joseph revealed his true identity — “‘I am Joseph! Is my father still alive?’ But his brothers could not answer him, for they were dismayed at his presence” (45:3).

Why were the brothers speechless? They knew that they were sinners who had no excuse for their sin. At this point the brothers must have been overwhelmed with their guilt. And besides that, they were conscious that they were under Joseph’s absolute power.

But notice what Joseph did. He invited his brothers to come near him — “Come near to me, please” (v. 4). Then Joseph comforted them with his words — “And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves, for God sent me before you to preserve life” (v. 5).

“Come” is the great word of the gospel. Jesus gives us an invitation — “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-ladened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28,29). Jesus, the greater Joseph, extends His gracious invitation to sinners. He invites us to come to Him. When we do, we find perfect rest and comfort for our souls.

Lord Jesus, thank You for Your gracious invitation to come to You. I know when I do, I find incredible peace and rest for my soul. In spite of my many sins, You beckon me to come to You so that I can experience Your love and forgiveness. Jesus, You are indeed a friend of sinners.

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