Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Joseph's Release (part 2 of 2)

How would this particular experience of Joseph apply to an attempt to better understand the message of Jesus?  While the believers posits that Jesus is presently ruling as Lord of all things within the kingdom of heaven that commenced with His Resurrection and began to make its presence felt on earth through those that believe in Him and follow the serving and suffering example of Jesus, one should consider what is billed as the great dissertation on the Resurrection, as presented in the fifteenth chapter of Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, that Jesus “must reign until He has put all enemies under His feet” (15:25), and that “The last enemy to be defeated is death” (15:26). 

Quoting from the eighth chapter of the Psalms, Paul adds to that, writing “For He has put everything in subjection under His feet” (15:27a), while also going on to point out that “when it says ‘everything’ has been put in subjection, it is clear that this does not include the One (Father) Who put everything in subjection to Him (Son)” (15:27b).  Closely echoing the story of Joseph’s imprisonment, release, and exaltation to the place of second-in-command, one can go on to read here in the Corinthian letter that “when all things are subjected to Him, the Son Himself will be subjected to the One Who subjected everything to Him, so that God may be all in all” (15:28). 

Reflecting back to Joseph then, having been given his charge and management responsibility, the Psalmist reminds the covenant people that Pharaoh also gave Joseph “authority to imprison his officials and to teach his advisers” (Psalm 105:22).  So too Jesus, having been freed from an imprisoning tomb of death, and having had a kingdom delivered over to Him, was also given authority that would be connected with teaching.  With this, one looks to the Gospel of Matthew, and latching on to the greater narrative structure that is to be found there, hears Jesus---before His death and Resurrection, but just before it is posited that “From that time on Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things… and on the third day be raised” (16:21), and so connecting His authority with His death and Resurrection---speaking to His disciples and saying, “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven.  Whatever you bind on earth will have been bound in heaven, and whatever you release on earth will have been released in heaven” (16:19). 

Clearly, Matthew has the authority of the Christ (anointed one/Messiah/King of Israel) in mind as a key component of His presentation of Jesus, and this is made quite poignant in Matthew’s record of Jesus’ farewell address to His disciples.  In it, Jesus makes an allusion to the seventh chapter of Daniel, with its kingdom and authority for the Son of Man, and says “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me” (28:18b).  Together with the quote from the sixteenth chapter, this dovetails quite nicely with the authority that was said to have been delivered to Joseph.  Building on this, Jesus Himself would seem to be extending and solidifying the connection between Himself and Joseph, saying “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (28:19-20a).   

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