BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 27, Day 5: Romans 15:13

Summary of passage:  Paul prays that God fills them with joy and peace as they trust in Him through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Questions:

13)  Trust gives us the faith we need in order to hope.  Without trust, hope is empty as we truly don’t believe it will come to pass.

14)  Personal Question.  My answer:  If we don’t trust, we have no hope.  God grants us both and is good for doing so.  At the end of the day, hope is all that gets me by sometimes.  I hope in God and trust in Him to do as He says He will.  As I see Him fulfill His promises, my faith grows as does my trust and hope.  It’s a beautiful cycle I never want to end!

15)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Everyone.

Conclusions:  Trust and hope are really broad topics and are tightly intertwined.  The more you trust, the more hope you have and the more faith is strengthened.

End Notes:   The prayer and blessing concluding the section is appropriate. As God fills us with the blessings of His joy and peace in believing, we are equipped to live in this common bond of unity God calls us to.

Throughout the Bible, hope is considered a desirable attribute of human life.  Hope is a gift of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament and includes trust, confidence, and refuge in the God of hope.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 27, Day 5: John 19:38-42

Summary of passage: Joseph of Arimathea, a secret follower of Jesus, asked Pilate for Jesus’ body. Along with Nicodemus, the two of them prepared Jesus’ body for burial by wrapping it in strips of linen. Jesus was laid in a nearby tomb.

Questions:

12)  Jesus was not abandoned nor did his body decay.  Jesus was wrapped in linen, his body rubbed with spices, myrrh and aloes that were expensive.  He died with wicked men.  He conquered death and sin to overcome the devil.

13)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Because Jesus was buried when he died so were we so that we may rise again.  Jesus was raised from the dead as we will be as well.  To be honest, it doesn’t impact my daily life.  I prefer to mediate on his resurrection rather than the details of his burial.

Conclusions:  I’d never asked myself before why we bury the dead.  Why not burn them?  Different cultures treat their dead differently so I decided to google.  Fascinating.  Some of what I discovered is in the End Notes.

End Notes:  God used these men to protect the body of Jesus. Jewish custom was to bury the body before sundown and the start of the Sabbath. All indications are that Joseph and Nicodemus did this work themselves instead of slaves. This must have been difficult to remove the bloody body of Jesus from a hanging cross. These 2 men who were religious leaders must have known they were fulfilling prophecy. Can you imagine being in their place? How awesome!

“One of the customs of the Jews in preparing a body for burial is the requirement to remove all foreign matter from the body and to carefully wash it. Joseph and Nicodemus examined His entire body and found broken pieces of thorn all over the head. They saw His bloody, matted hair; the terrible bruising of the face, the areas of beard pulled out, the dry and cracked lips. They turned the body over to see His shoulders and arms are riddled with splinters; each one was removed with care. The back, from the shoulders down, was a bloody open wound from the terrible scourging suffered before the crucifixion. His hands and feet were smashed and bloodied. On the front – just beneath the rib cage – there was a gaping wound made from the spear thrust that confirmed His death.” Taken from Enduring Word.com. Can you imagine?

Jesus could have risen right then. But instead he hung dead on the cross. God’s perfect plan.

The burial of Jesus is so important it’s considered one of the essential components of the gospel itself (1 Corinthians 15:3-4):

· The burial fulfilled the Scripture of Isaiah 53:9 says, “And they made His grave with the wicked”; so that meant the Messiah would be buried in a grave – and He was

· The burial fulfilled the promise, the prediction of Jesus. Jesus said that He, like Jonah, would be buried away for three days (Matthew 12:40), and so it had to be fulfilled

· The burial demonstrated that Jesus was truly dead; it was proof of the glory of the coming resurrection.

· The burial was important because burial spices and preparations protected His holy body from decay; as it was said in Psalm 16:10: You will not allow Your Holy One to see decay

· The burial pushed both Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus to proclaim their relationship with Jesus in public

· The burial and the days of Jesus in the tomb tested the faith and devotion of the disciples; it made them die a certain kind of death for those days they knew Jesus lay in the tomb

· The burial and the days of Jesus in the tomb proved Jesus defeated not only sin, but also death. The burial and the empty tomb show that Jesus conquered sin and death

· The days in the tomb were important because there was important work for Jesus to do during that time in the tomb. 1 Peter 3:18-20 tells us that Jesus went and preached to the spirits in prison; though there isn’t as much explanation on all this as we would like to have, it seems that as the body of Jesus lay lifeless in the tomb, His Spirit went to Hades, the abode of the dead. There He led the faithful dead to heaven, in light of His then-completed work on the cross. He also preached a message of judgment and coming condemnation to the evil spirits that were imprisoned in the depths

· The burial shows he was buried with us, in the humiliation of utter humanness. We are buried with Him – spiritually by faith, ceremonially by baptism. He identified with us; we by faith identify with Him. [Again, summarized from enduring word.com]

The myrrh and aloes were an extravagant amount of money.

Matthew 27:60 tells us that this tomb belonged to Joseph of Arimathea himself. A rich man like Joseph would probably have a tomb that was carved into solid rock; this tomb was in a garden near the place of crucifixion.

A typical tomb of this type had a small entrance and perhaps one or more compartments where bodies were laid out after being somewhat mummified with spices, ointments, and linen strips. Customarily, the Jews left these bodies alone for a few years until they decayed down to the bones, then the bones were placed in a small stone box known as an ossuary (picture HERE.) The ossuary remained in the tomb with the remains of other family members.

The door to the tomb was typically made of a heavy, circular shaped stone, running in a groove and settled down into a channel, so it could not be moved except by several strong men. This was done to ensure that no one would disturb the remains.

Adam fell in a Garden. And so we are redeemed in one.

Spurgeon points out that the tomb was empty so no one could say Jesus’ body had touched the bones of a prophet and so sprung to life. Every detail recorded was super important to the Jewish people at that time too all would know–Yes, He is King!

So why do we bury the dead?  Evidence shows since the beginning of time the dead have been buried mainly to show respect to the dead.  Wikipedia has a great article HERE on the history.  I think it’s inherent to mankind.  It’s like the search for God.  Something inside all of us leads us to do what we do like instinct in animals.  Abraham purchased a cave and even God laid Moses to rest (article HERE) in Deuteronomy 34:6.  Christian burial link HERE  Fascinating study if you’re interested.  It’s always good to question tradition.

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 27, Day 5: Revelation 22:1-5

Summary of passage:  We see the river of life running through the middle of the New Jerusalem.  On each side of the river stands the tree of life, bearing 12 kinds of fruit.  The curse is lifted.  God and Jesus will dwell in the city.  We will see God’s face and be marked.  God will be the light and we shall reign forever.

Questions:

12)  The River of Life.  Other waters in the Bible:

In the Garden is a river that flows from Eden and nourishes the land (Genesis 2:10-14).

Exodus 17:6 & Numbers 20:11 when Moses strikes the rock and water flows out for the people to drink.

John 19:34:  Jesus is pierced and water flows to rid us of our sins.

Psalm 46:4-5:  A river gladdens the city.

Ezekiel 47:5-12:  A river flows from the house of God with miraculous properties.  It reverses the deadly saltiness of the Dead Sea and produces healing fruits on its banks.

John 4:10-14:  Whoever drinks of Jesus’s water will never thirst again.  It will spring up and offer eternal life.  John 7:38 says believers have streams of living water flowing within them.

13a)  Both disobeyed God’s order to not eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil and were deceived by the serpent.

b)  Everything.  Life with God by their side.  Paradise.  Eternal life.  No sin.  No evil.

14)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Everything.

Conclusions:  Weak.  Hope Lesson 28 has more than this to these 5 verses.  Question 12 was good and interesting, but you’ll have to research it to get the most out of it.  So google away!

Here we see prophesy and God’s promises fulfilled.  What a way to end the Bible!  God is so, so good as all of Scripture culminates in His glory and mercy and our salvation.

End Notes:  Prophets used a river as a symbol of richness, provision, and peace (Isaiah 48:18, Zechariah 14:8, Ezekiel 47:1-9).  Water is a basic need for life on earth.  The idea is in heaven there shall be no want.

The water is clear, again a sign of perfection and purity.  It is a gift from God.

Note how the Bible began with the tree of life (Genesis 3:22-24) and now we end with one.  God is awesome!

Scholars differ on whether this is one tree or a series of trees or one tree reaching over the river.  No matter.  The idea is restoration.  The tree shows man is restored to God again with full access and fellowship with Him.  Ezekiel 47:7,12 prophesies trees as well.

The tree bears fruit, which we can eat.  Again, scholars differ here but most agree we will eat in heaven but we won’t have to to survive.  Jesus enjoyed food after his resurrection (Luke 24:41-43, John 21:12-14) and angels ate with Abraham (Genesis 18:6-8).  It could be used as a communion or for fellowship with Jesus.

Why is healing needed in heaven?  Here, the Greek word used also means “health-giving”, a much better translation than healing.

The Millennial earth will still have curses (Isaiah 65:20) just less.  Here, all are gone forever.

We will serve God, not sit around idle, and reign forever (Daniel 7:27; Revelation 3:21).

We shall see God’s face (1 Corinthians 13:12, 1 John 3:2)!  Imagine!  In ancient times criminals were banished from the presence of the king.

Revelation 3:12 is fulfilled:  Those who remain true to God shall be marked.

The Lord shall be our everlasting light (Isaiah 60:19-20)

Conclusions to Lesson 27:  Such messages of hope to believers.  We’ve read about the coming suffering and judgments but the light at the end of the tunnel is God and we get to walk toward it and in it all of our lives.  Every other minor want/problem/complaint pales in comparison to our future.  If only we could keep that in our minds in the day-to-day heartaches and trials.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 27, Day 5: Deuteronomy 30

Summary of passage:  If God’s people turn back to Him, He will bless them and gather them together and prosper them and curse their enemies.  God only desires love and obedience.

Questions:

10a)  “Take his commands to heart” that is obey Him and love Him.

b)  Circumcise them.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  That God is always just one step away, one prayer away, one repentance away.  He is waiting to pick us up when we fall and He never tires of this no matter how many times we sin.  It is a great comfort because I sin all the time so knowing God loves me anyways gives me the faith to keep pursuing Him.

11a)  A choice of life or death

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Life.  Through believe in Jesus Christ, you will have eternal life.

12)  If you read all of Galatians 3, you will see the whole answer here.  Paul’s argument is this:  Abraham who lived before the law was given merely believed in God and was considered righteous.  Then the law was given (and Paul says the reason the law was given was to lead the people to Christ.  Verse 19 has the answer:  The purpose of the law was added because of transgressions until the Seed (Jesus) had come.)  The law’s purpose was to show people that it is impossible to gain God’s acceptance and be with Him on our own–that we need a Savior to do it for us.  But once Jesus stepped foot on this planet, God required faith in Jesus who took our transgressions upon himself.

Therefore, the law was to show us our inadequacies and just how much we truly need God and a Savior.

The people needed the Law because Jesus hadn’t come yet.  They needed a way to be with God and the Old Covenant was it.  The problem:  as we’ve seen this year, the people were never cleansed enough to be with God.  The system of blood sacrifice was not enough.  The people needed to see that and to live that out.  It was to prepare people for the Truth and make them desperate for a Savior.

Conclusions:  LOVED the last question.  Perfect!  Sums up our whole study.

End Notes:  The modern state of Israel is the fulfillment of God’s promise here to regather His people that have been scattered for centuries all over the world.  Scholars say this promise was not fulfilled after their Babylonian exile because the Israelites were still being ruled over.  Now, the modern state of Israel is larger, stronger, and richer than any other time in history.  Israel needs our prayers.

However, Israel today is a secular society despite its Jewish heritage.  Only the ancient Israelites had a true theocracy.  Hence, this prophecy is only partially filled.  Furthermore, most Jews do not accept Jesus, which in essence is a rejection of God.  But God is faithful and He will keep His promise in these verses.

Ezekiel 37 says that first the Jews will gather together and then God will put His spirit in them.  God is not done with His people yet.

Under the Old Covenant, the Israelites had to obey the law, offer sacrifices, and believe in its power to atone and to understand another would come.  Under the New Covenant, we only have to believe in Jesus as the Savior; we don’t have to do anything.  How full of grace is our God!

We see God pleading with His people through Moses to choose Him.  We can see God pleading with His people through Jesus to believe in him.  We see God telling His people to love Him, listen to Him, and hold on to Him.  He is our life.

God makes it simple:  understand (mouth), believe (heart), and obey His word.  Paul says the same thing when he quotes this passage in Romans 10:6-10:  Confess Jesus is your Lord and believe in your heart he is the Savior.  And you will be saved.  Period.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 27, Day 5: Matthew 27:11-31; Luke 23:1-12

Summary of passages:  Matthew 27:11-31:  Pilate now questions Jesus and lays out the charges against him.  Jesus only answers one questions, acknowledging he is the king of the Jews.  Following custom, Pilate allows the crowd to release one prisoner at Passover.  Pilate’s wife warns him to not to have anything to do with Jesus because she had a bad dream about him.  But the Sanhedrin convinces the crowd to release Barabbas instead of Jesus.  Pilate asks why because Jesus is innocent but the crowd is insistent.  So Pilate washes his hands of the crime and the people take responsibility.  He then flogs Jesus.

Pilate’s soldiers stripped Jesus and put a scarlet robe upon him and a crown of thorns on his head.  They put a staff in his right hand and knelt in front of him and mocked him.  They spit on him and hit him over the head with the staff.  Then they removed the robe and put his won clothes back on him.  Then they led him away to be crucified.

Luke 23:1-12:  The Sanhedrin marches Jesus off to Pilate, saying he is subverting the nation by opposing paying taxes to Caesar and claiming to be the Messiah.  Jesus admits to being the king of the Jews.  Pilate admits there are no crimes against him.  The crowd insisted.  Pilate learns he is a Galilean so Pilate hands him over to Herod to deal with.  Herod was eager to question Jesus since he had heard so much about him and was hoping to see a miracle but Jesus refused to answer.

Finally, Herod ridicules and mocks Jesus.  They dress him in a robe and send him back to Pilate. Pilate and Herod become friends.

Questions:

11a)  Herod wanted Jesus to perform a miracle.  Jesus said nothing to Herod.

b)  Herod killed John the Baptist.

c)  He was curious.  He believed Jesus performed miracles and he wanted to know more.  That’s why he kept John the Baptist alive as well.  He was intrigued by their teachings of God and Jesus.

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  If you come to Jesus just seeking a miracle for the sake of seeing a miracle, you won’t get it.  If you come to Jesus asking for a miracle when you don’t believe or accept him, you won’t get it either.  Jesus won’t answer you if your heart is wrong.

12a)  Pilate says so:  Luke 23:4:  “I find no basis for a charge against this man.”

He repeats his conclusions in Luke 23:13:  “I have examined him in your presence and have found no basis for your charges against him.  Neither has Herod…He has done nothing to deserve death.  Therefore, I will punish him and then release him.”

Luke 23:20:  “Wanting to release Jesus, Pilate appealed to them [the people] again.”

Luke 23:22:  “For the third time, he [Pilate] spoke to the them [the people] ‘I have found no grounds for the death penalty.'”

Matthew 27:23:  Pilate says to the crowd who calls for his crucifixion “Why?  What crime has he committed?”

Matthew 27:24:  Pilate washes his hands in front of the crowd and says “I am innocent of this man’s blood.  It is your responsibility.”

Pilate’s wife believed him innocent as well.  Matthew 27:19:  “Don’t have anything to do with that innocent man.”

John 18:38:  Pilate says “I find on basis for a charge against him.”

John 19:4:  Pilate says again “I find no basis for a charge against him.

John 19:12:  “From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jews kept shouting.”

Mark 15:14:  Pilate asks the crowd who wants Jesus crucified, “Why?  What crime has he committed?”

b) Out of envy Matthew 27:18 & Mark 15:10

c)  Because if Jesus was a king, he would be opposing Caesar and that was a crime justifying death.  Mark says specifically that Pilate only hands over Jesus for execution to please the crowd (Mark 15:15).

In my opinion from reading all the passages, I would say Pilate executed Jesus to please the crowds.  During Passover, there were thousands of Jews in Jerusalem–more than the number of Roman soldiers.  The crowd could have easily turned into a rebellion and overpowered the soldiers.

He was probably also tired of trying to reason with crowd mentality where reason does not exist.  So he gave in in order to prevent violence.  I actually did a post on how Jesus was killed by crowd mentality a while back.  You can read that HERE

The fact of the matter is no one person killed Jesus.  We did.  With our sins.  He had to die to save us.  We are all responsible.

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  The amazing love God has for us to send his son to die for us sinners so He can be with us.  Jesus was innocent.  We are the guilty ones.  Yet now we can live.  Amazing!

Conclusions:  Not for sure why BSF did not have us finish reading the whole Luke passage of Jesus with Pilate especially in light of question 12a where we see Pilate 3 times beg for Jesus’ life but the people were insistent.  Ironic how a lot of people believe it was Pilate and the Romans that killed Jesus when in reality it was the Jews and the very people Jesus came to save.

Jesus actually appeared before Pilate 2 times.  BSF here had us read the first time Jesus appeared before Pilate in Luke.  Keep reading Luke and you will read the second time he appears before Pilate which is what Matthew records.  Matthew records the 2nd time only and not the first.  Hence why BSF has us comparing the first with the second is baffling to me instead of the second with the second.  Read all of Luke and you’ll get the full picture.

Not for sue why BSF did not have us read Mark’s version either of these events especially in light of question 12c where Mark’s reasoning is different than John’s.  I would recommend reading it (Mark 15:1-20).

I can imagine this is only a tiny bit of what happened on that day that is recorded.  I’d love to have more details, wouldn’t you?

We killed Jesus.  With our sins.  I think if we truly absorbed that fact into our souls we’d all be better people.

To this day, our sins sadden God.  He wants so much for us.  So much He’d kill his only Son.  We should all meditate on that fact, absorb its meaning, and be more like Jesus.  For God’s sake if not for our own.

End Notes:  Let’s remember how Pilate first sees Jesus:  beaten and bloodied (Matthew 26:67)–nothing like a king that the Jews are accusing him of being.  Pilate probably thought the Sanhedrin was wasting his time and had hoped to be done with this quickly.

Instead the governor was amazed that Jesus would stood in defied silence.  Whereas most people facing death would defend themselves and do anything to save their lives, Jesus stood.  God was Jesus’ defense.

I can only imagine the presence Jesus had.  I’m sure when he walked into a room, all eyes would land upon him.  There had to be something about him, something majestic and holy, that would draw you to him.  Would have been a sight to see!

Telling the power of the Sanhedrin when they convince the people to release Barabbas who is a revolutionist murderer who tried to overthrow Rome (Mark 15:7).  That was the power of the religious rulers of that day (and the power of false prophets then and now).  Why we should all be thankful that we live in a democracy (those of us that do).  So that innocent people aren’t executed without cause.

Can you imagine Pilate’s wife’s dream?  It must have been powerful for her to send a message to her husband.  This was God’s mercy in play, trying to spare Pilate eternal hell.  He rejected it as so many do.

The fact that the Jews themselves would chose crucifixion (a Roman invention the Jews absolutely hated) speaks to the evilness of man.

The name Barabbas means “the son of the father” in Hebrew (Good Bible references on Barabbas HERE.  Note “abba” in his name.).  The people were fooled and chose the wrong Son.  Like so many do today.  And they will when they embrace the anti-Christ in the future.  Jesus took the cross for Barabbas.  And us.

In the end, Pilate was a coward who denied Jesus justice.  He kowtowed to the rabble and thus went down in infamy.  He washed his hands but not his soul.  He alone held the power to save Jesus as the representative of Rome and he turned away.  How God’s heart must have broke at that moment.

Ironic how the crowd asked for Jesus’ blood–which is what we all must ask for to be saved.  They were saving themselves and didn’t even know it.  Only God can work in such ways.

This same crowd had hailed Jesus only a few days before and cried “Hosanna!” (Save) is now crying “Crucify!” (Die).  If only they had known….

Notes on Scourging:  In Bill O’Reilly’s book Killing Jesus this is described in depth (as well as crucifixion).  The NIV calls this flogging but this was beyond normal flogging.  The Romans scourged every one except women and Roman citizens who were sentenced to die on the cross. This entailed a whip with multiple strips of leather that had bone shards or metal at the end. These cut into the skin and muscle and caused massive blood loss, weakening the prisoner and causing death in some cases.  The goal was to extract a confession.  When the confession was gained, the blows would lessen and stop.  Jesus, having nothing to confess, remained silent. Hence, his beating never lessened.

Picture of Scouraging HERE

Picture of Crucifixion HERE

Description and Pictures of Praetorium HERE

Life of Pilate HERE and HERE

On Lesson 27, Day 2 we were asked how Jesus was humiliated.  I answered just by his disciples forsaking him.  Here, is where the real humiliation took place (Matthew 27:27-31).  The whole company of soldiers watched as Jesus was stripped naked.  This is a culture where everyone wore a lot of clothes.  Skin was hardly shown.  Most wore robes to the ground and had sleeves.  Most were in layers.  To expose body parts was considered indecent.  So stripping Jesus when he would have been used to being fully clothed all the time would have been devastating.

Scarlet was the color reserved for royalty and the elite.  In Rome, only the emperor could wear purple because it was the most expensive color cloth at the time.  Scarlet as well was a deep red, again, an expensive color to make.  This was meant to mock Jesus as well.

Most rulers wore crowns.  The crown of thorns would have bloodied Jesus immediately.

Most rulers carried ornate, intricately-carved scepters as a symbol of their power.  Here, Jesus is handed a reed, a stiff grass similar to bamboo.  Then the soldiers beat him with the reed.  They stripped him again and led him away.  Does man get any crueler than this?  To literally spit in God’s face, humiliate Him, and beat Him.  Should bring us all to our knees…

Side Note:  How did Matthew hear of this scene anyways when it was only observed by the Roman soldiers?  Had to have been from one of the soldiers himself.  Makes one wonder if Matthew did interviews for his book like they do today or if a Roman soldier, having witnessed this, came to Christ.  Another question for heaven!

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 27, Day 5: Genesis 40

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.

Questions:

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.