Father and Son Reunited
“Joseph prepared his chariot and went up to meet Israel his father in Goshen. He presented himself to him and fell on his neck and wept on his neck a good while” (Gen. 46:28–30).
One of our deepest longings as human beings is to be reunited with loved ones after a long absence. Consider, for example, the wife of a soldier who leaps into his arms after he returns from battle, showering him with kisses and tears. Or think of the little boy expecting a visit from his grandparents who live in another state. He waits for hours by the front window of his house so that he will be the first to see them arrive. Whether we have children away in college or a friend who lives hundreds of miles away, all of us have known the pain of absence and the joy of reunion.
Today’s passage illustrates this experience marvelously. Having paused to list the names of those sons of Jacob who came into Egypt at Joseph’s request, Moses now describes the first encounter between Jacob and Joseph in over two decades (Gen. 37:2; 41:46–54; 45:6). We see that Joseph “prepared his chariot” to meet with his father (46:29), an easily omitted detail that Moses included in order to remind readers of Joseph’s magnificent status and therefore, his gracious forgiveness of those who hated him. He had the power to do otherwise, but Joseph was kind to his repentant brothers, showing us how God’s people repay evil with good (Rom. 12:14–21).
After joyful tears and embraces, Jacob said he could die in peace after reuniting with Joseph (Gen. 46:30). The patriarch had been convinced that he would restlessly mourn Joseph’s death all the way to his own grave (37:29–35), but he could face his end with confidence and hope after seeing his son alive. Christians have a similar experience today. Figuratively speaking, Joseph died and rose again in Jacob’s eyes. We now know the One greater than Joseph who was literally resurrected. Thus, we can face death with peace (1 Peter 1:3).
It is fitting that Jacob sent Judah ahead to lead him to Joseph (46:28) since he was the one who initiated the events that caused Joseph’s absence in the first place (37:26–28). We can also see here a faint picture of Christ, for while Jesus never sinfully sold His kin into slavery, He was also sent by the Father to reunite the Almighty with His people (John 3:16).
Think today about a relative or friend whom you have not seen for many years. Is the relationship in disrepair? Take time to contact that person and restore the relationship if possible. If there is unrepentant sin, take time to pray for a new heart, whether for yourself or someone else. Remember that as God sent His Son into the world to restore His relationship with us, so too must we be ministers of reconciliation (Matt. 5:21–26)
Passages for Further Study
- 2 Sam. 19:1–15
- Luke 24:36–43
- John 3:17
- 2 Cor. 5:11–21
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