The Faith of Joseph

“Then Joseph said to his brothers, “I am about to die. But God will surely come to your aid and take you up out of this land to the land he promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” And Joseph made the Israelites swear an oath and said, “God will surely come to your aid, and then you must carry my bones up from this place.” (Gen 50:24-25)

Israel was going to pass through many years of sorrow and hardship in Egypt. It’s a similar story today, with the ambitions of many different people creating harshness and inflicting it upon the world. All looks doom as far as this world is concerned.

But Joseph could see through this, and he saw through it with Hebrew eyes and faith. Hebrew faith is about bones and land. This is resurrection faith. God’s promises are not just about our spirit-being going to heaven. Hebrew faith is holistic. It’s about God’s whole creation, fulfilling the Adamic commission to bless the nations. This is the cornerstone of Hebrew gospel, bodily resurrection, restoring God’s whole creation, spiritual and natural.

Hebrew gospel is finally and ultimately fulfilled in the resurrection. The resurrection designates the final coming to pass of all God’s promises, victory and faithfulness.

Resurrection is a gospel about this world, the land we live in. Though we pass through trial and snare now, we know God will bring us through into his renewed world.

My faith is like Joseph’s faith. “Bury my bones in this land in hope, for I know God is going to renew the whole world.” He will vanquish all oppression from this world; the violent and greedy will be no more.

So what? Believers are to live out this faith in our current age. The resurrection of Jesus in this world shows that the kingdom of God has already dawned in our lives and it shows the inevitability of the final victory of life in this world. This is the light we live by and thereby shine in our current time. How do we live by that light? We live by the light by saying no to the deeds of darkness.

Our “No” to darkness is a “Yes” to community: to a shared living, caring for one another. It is living in the values of being our brother’s, neighbour’s and enemy’s keeper, as Jesus showed in his teachings and life and death. Living for others and not for self is the light of resurrection; of the new world already come, of the resistance movement to darkness.

Let’s live by the resurrection world, for nothing is surer.