One of my favorite Bible stories is the story of Joseph and his brothers. And I think it’s because of the theme of that situation and it’s forgiveness. And we can think of it in this way: that there’s nothing beyond forgiveness.
So here’s the story in a nutshell. Joseph was 17 years old and his brothers hated him. He was dad’s favorite and they decided to sell him as a slave. But then several years later those very brothers who had wronged their brother so badly found themselves in front of Joseph. He was one of most powerful men in Egypt and he could have killed them at a moment’s notice. Furthermore their father had died and so they were so afraid that Joseph would get paybacks and he would kill them because of what they had done, which was very bad.
But listen to what Joseph says to his brothers even under these circumstances that we might think how could he do this. But Joseph it’s written in Genesis Chapter 50 verses 19 and 20.
Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.(Genesis 50:19-20)
So in spite of what Joseph had underwent with his brothers that they had sold him as a slave. He said I forgive you. That’s what he’s saying. He’s not in the place of God. God intended even to use their evil for the good of many lives and that’s what ended up happening as we know in history.
But how could Joseph do that. Same reason we can do it and we can forgive those who sin against us because there was another brother who is also sold for the price of a slave. And that’s Jesus. The very Jesus who took that life and offered it up on the cross even saying Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.
And it’s that blood that Jesus shed that forgives you and me freely and completely, no strings attached at all. And that is why there is nothing beyond forgiveness and because we have been forgiven freely and completely it gives us the opportunity, and the right, and the power, and strength to forgive those who sin against us. And we do it as Joseph did because we have been forgiven. There is nothing beyond forgiveness. Christ forgiving us is the very reason that we can forgive those who sin against us. Amen.