BROTHERLY LOVE (AND FORGIVENESS)
“And he kissed all his brothers and wept upon them. After that his brothers talked with him.” Genesis 45:15 (ESV)
Of all the figures in the Old Testament, Joseph’s life mirrors Jesus closely as they both experience the injustice of brotherly betrayal. In both situations, God sovereignly exalts them to save the lives of many. These moments in scripture illustrate the victorious triumph love has over shattered relationships and provides us a key insight to that of how our relationship with God can be reconciled today.
Notice the posture Joseph and his brothers hold at the time of Joseph’s revelation: the brothers are terrified, knowing full well the guilt of their actions years ago. The brothers also realize the power Joseph now holds over each of their lives. Not one of them speaks a word, knowing a verbal defense would simply be impossible. However, Joseph’s response is vastly different: he weeps and cries out for intimacy and asks for the restoration of severed relationship with his father. He summons his brothers to come near in his pleas. His desire is to have reconciliation with those he loves. It is not necessary for Joseph to point out the accumulating record of wrongs to his brothers, as their guilt is obvious; but knowing their suffering, Joseph seeks to end the cycle of hurt by simply absorbing the injustice dealt him. He instead returns their wrongs with comforting words of acquittal and love-soaked tears. This forgiveness acts as the catalyst to turn around the relationship that was completely based on fear and into one of brotherhood: they held each other closely, kisses were given, and a broken family was renovated and exalted to a level not previously known.
The rebuilding of a family relationship is a primary theme of the Bible, seen essentially from Genesis 3 up to Revelation 21. This theme has been illustrated by Joseph in this short scene and ultimately conveys the tone of what Jesus provided to us in his life. A simple powerful request: “Come near to me, please.”
Practical Application: Identify a friend or a family member who has wronged you in any way and reignite a conversation where you express your forgiveness and desire for restoration.
—Levi Colt Wainwright