Summary of passage: Pharaoh’s cupbearer and baker offended him so he threw them in jail. Potiphar assigned them to Joseph. After some time, both men had a dream and Joseph noticed they were downcast about it. So he asked them why they were gloom and they said because they had a dream they did not understand. Joseph asked them to tell him his dreams because God can interpret them.
The chief cupbearer dreamed of a vine with three branches. Grapes bloomed on the branches and the cupbearer squeezed the grapes into Pharaoh’s cup and gave him the cup. Joseph said in three days time the cupbearer will be restored to his position as cupbearer. He asked him to remember him and mention him to Pharaoh so that Joseph may be released.
The chief baker dreamed of three baskets on his head of which the first baskets contained baked goods for the Pharaoh but birds were eating all the food. Joseph said in three days Pharaoh will remove his head and hang him on a tree while the birds eat his flesh.
In three days time, it was Pharaoh’s birthday and he gave a feast for all of his officials. Just like Joseph had said, the chief cupbearer was restored and the chief baker was hanged (or impaled). The chief cupbearer did not remember Joseph.
11a) To remember him and show him kindness and to mention him to Pharaoh to get him out of this prison.
b) It is not recorded if the cupbearer agreed or didn’t agree to mention Joseph to Pharaoh. All we know is that the cupbearer did not; he promptly forgot about Joseph.
12) Personal Question. My answer: I think Joseph was discouraged at times and did lose heart. Those times are just not recorded. Joseph was human. What happened to Joseph would make anyone cry. It was deplorable, unimaginable conditions and Joseph must have lamented his lot. However, Joseph never forgot he had God. God was with him. Joseph had outward signs of this due to how others saw God in him and put him in charge of all the prison and all that was done there.
Joseph never let his circumstances dictate his actions. He probably was bummed for a while but then would pray and be cheered.
I’m sure Joseph was disappointed the cupbearer forgot him for Joseph was pinning his hopes on this for release. But Joseph knew God was still with him. And the time was just not right.
13) Jesus is saying that if a kernel of wheat remains on the stalk, nothing happens. But when the kernel falls to the ground it “dies” meaning it is no longer a seed but it grows anew, into a plant that is useful and will feed people and eventually produce many more seeds.
Joseph “died” to who he was. He was given a new name by Pharaoh (Genesis 41:45), Zaphenath-Paneah, married an Egyptian woman, and became Egyptian for all purposes. He dressed like one. He led an Egyptian life. But out of this life, he fed people and produced many more seeds (including the seed for Jesus when he saved his family) through the saving of these people as they survived and had children. But Joseph had to “die” first.
This is the literal meaning. Spiritually, Jesus had to die in order to give life to many. Paul explains in 1 Corinthians 15:36-38; 42-44 that you must die first in order to be raised from the dead and have eternal life. You plant the seed and God gives it a body, which is perishable, weak, natural, and in dishonor. But then God raises the body in glory, honor, power, and spiritualness.
Conclusions: We must remember that the cupbearer and the baker were in prison for the sole reason of meeting Joseph and having their dreams interpreted. God sent them their dream and gifted Joseph to interpret them all to get the attention of Pharaoh (whom God sent dreams as well). God is everywhere in our circumstances and the story of Joseph in particular is a great example of God’s hand in every facet of our lives.
Question 13 nailed the lesson on the head: you must die to who you were in order to become who you were meant to be. Die to self in order to live forever.
The moment Joseph’s life changed forever and he died to self is recorded powerfully in Scripture–when his brothers sold him to slavery. He ceased being Joseph and became God’s instead–living, trusting, and doing God’s work.
Great lesson for Easter. Jesus died so that we may live. Something we cannot praise God enough for.