Joseph as a “type” of Christ continues. After the episode of Joseph telling stories about his half-brothers to his father, the relationship further deteriorated once Israel made the coat for Joseph. Genesis 37:4 tells us that these brothers hated and did not speak kindly to him. Then to crown things and make them much worse, he tells them a dream he had in verses 5-7 which when interpreted means they as brothers would bow down to him, Joseph. The hatred intensified! (v8) Joseph’s youthful ignorance did not stop there, for he has another dream (v9) and foolishly tells his brothers and father. The interpretation includes his parents bowing down to him. His father rebuked him, but his brothers became exceedingly jealous of him. Whilst these dreams were real and from God, he ought not to have made them know at that stage or he could have dealt with passing on the information in a different way …. but then youthful teenage vigor and experience is difficult … even for us at that age or perhaps for someone that age now. Now comes the “type” …
Joseph Becomes a Servant
It almost seems strange that he becomes a servant to his brothers when they hated and detested the very sight of him … not forgetting him tattle taleing on them.
Ge 37:12 Now his brothers had gone to graze their father’s flocks near Shechem, 13 and Israel said to Joseph, “As you know, your brothers are grazing the flocks near Shechem. Come, I am going to send you to them.”
“Very well,” he replied.
Now daddy is concerned for his sons, seemingly some distance away and decides to send Joseph to them on a mission which was to enquire after their wellbeing and that of his flocks (v15). It was a dangerous mission for a teenager all on his own, yet Israel sends Joseph as a servant.
Jesus Became a Servant
It’s even stranger that God the Son, the second person of the Triune God becomes a servant, especially to a depraved people such as sinners are!
1Jn 4:13 We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.
The Father sent His Son to be the Savior of the World. He sent His Son on a mission as a servant, not to enquire because He knew our state and condition, but to save! Consider the most well-known verse in Scripture:
Jn 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
This verse explains what love is … sacrifice … and sacrifice must be explained the way Jesus put it:
Mat 20:28 “just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Jesus served us through going to the Cross for us as our substitute. We could not pay the sin price so He serves us through paying our sin price for us! That is servanthood in action! The Divine serving the sinner!
Paul Was a Servant
God called Paul to be a servant of Jesus for the sake of the Gospel.
Ro 1:1 Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God— 2 the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures 3 regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David, 4 and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.
Eph 3:7 I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power.
Not only does Jesus set us an example of servanthood, Paul does too … and for him and for us, servanthood is to Jesus for the sake of the Gospel. Twice we find the angel speaking to John about servanthood:
Rev 19:10 At this I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “Do not do it! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God!”
Rev 22:8 I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I had heard and seen them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who had been showing them to me. 9 But he said to me, “Do not do it! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers the prophets and of all who keep the words of this book. Worship God!”
See that? With John and all the other apostles including all believers are servants of the Lord Jesus Christ for the gospel! He is our model and we give ourselves up to service Him through the Gospel. There are so many ways we may do this. It might be pastoral ministry or being an evangelist … but what about facilitating gospel ministry through financing or praying or some other creative way. I recall a lady doing the ironing for her friend to enable that friend to do Gospel ministry. My point is that service and servanthood in Gospel ministry might well be unseen … in the background … yet vital as an enabler for someone else to do the public and upfront ministry. Often they can’t or are limited in their servant ministry when they don’t have other servants doing the backroom tasks enabling them to function proficiently for Jesus in the proclamation of the Gospel. Do you realise that the greatest and noblest and indeed the most important task in all the world is to be servants of Jesus in spreading the Gospel message. Just think what the gospel does … it saves souls! It gives people the option of believing and trusting Jesus for forgiveness of sin and being made right with God. It takes a dead soul and through the ministry of the Holy Spirit makes that soul alive to God. It grants eternal life in place of eternal hell. There is no greater news than this in all the world … and there is no greater need in all the world. You see, the gospel is a life changer. It sets people free from the prison of death to live life as a Child of God … not only on this earth … but for eternity.
Dear Lord, help me to be a worthy servant of such a worthy Lord … even if I need to do mundane tasks … for Jesus’ sake. Amen.