|“And he [Joseph] wept so loudly |
that the Egyptians heard him, and
Pharaoh’s household heard about it.”
|“With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last.”|
Other-earthly; prolonged and deathly; loud and terror-ridden. This sound came from Joseph’s body, up from the depths of his soul when he revealed himself to his brothers. This unnatural act of forgiveness came with a terrible cost: months and years of turmoil.
Philip Yancey perfectly expresses this occasion:1
The brothers Joseph struggled to forgive were the very ones who had bullied him, had cooked up schemes to murder him, had sold him into slavery. Because of them he had spent the best years of his youth moldering in an Egyptian dungeon. Though he went on to triumph over adversity and though with all his heart he now wanted to forgive these brothers, he could not bring himself to that point, not yet. The wound still hurt too much.
I view Genesis 42-45 as Joseph’s way of saying, “I think it’s pretty amazing that I forgive you for the dastardly things you’ve done!” When grace finally broke through to Joseph, the sound of his grief and loved echoed throughout the palace. What is that wail? Is the king’s minister sick? No, Joseph’s health is fine. It was the sound of a man forgiving.
Now, change the scene. See Jesus during the last twenty-four hours of His life. In the Garden of Gethsemane, He fought in prayer with His Father: “Would You possibly take this dreadful task away from me? If not, I will bow to Your will.”
Jesus prayed until He could agree with the Father’s will. This death had to be died. This pain had to take its course. There was no other way. In order to fully love us, He agreed to the Father’s plan. On the cross, in torturous agony, Jesus gave Himself for the sins of the world.
What is that wail? Listen, and hear that horrible sound. It graphically illustrates that He came and willingly died for us all. The wail revealed the sound of this perfect Man forgiving—forgiving us!
Jesus asks us to forgive others as He forgave. We bow in prayer during this Holy Week to ask for His grace that will allow us the healing that comes from His wail and from our own.
|1 Yancey, Philip. What’s So Amazing About Grace? Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1997. Pp. 84-85.|