“Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy.” — John 16:20
Jacob had 12 sons and didn’t want to lose one of them. However, he lived a nightmare when he favored Joseph and stirred up jealousy in his other sons. The brothers considered killing Joseph, but decided to sell him as a slave. Then they lied and said an animal ate Joseph. “Then they got Joseph’s robe, slaughtered a goat and dipped the robe in the blood. They took the ornate robe back to their father and said, ‘We found this. Examine it to see whether it is your son’s robe'” (Genesis 37:31-32).
Jacob recognized the coat and agonized for 13 years over losing his son. Joseph lived as a slave and later as a prisoner in a faraway place, but Jacob thought he was dead. “[Jacob] recognized [the robe] and said, ‘It is my son’s robe! Some ferocious animal has devoured him. Joseph has surely been torn to pieces.’ Then Jacob tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and mourned for his son many days” (Genesis 37:33-34). As far as Jacob knew, he would not see Joseph again on this side of Heaven.
However, a strange series of events brought Joseph out of prison. He became Pharaoh’s right-hand man after he interpreted dreams about the future. Pharaoh trusted Joseph to manage the food supply when food was scarce. Then Joseph’s brothers traveled from Canaan to Egypt to buy food from Joseph because the famine was widespread. Eventually, Jacob also went to Egypt. The sight of a living Joseph revived his father. When Jacob, whose name was changed to Israel, saw Joseph, it seemed like a resurrection. “Israel said to Joseph, ‘I never expected to see your face again, and now God has allowed me to see your children too”’ (Genesis 48:11).
The happy reunion of Jacob and Joseph foreshadowed Jesus’ resurrection — Jesus actually dying and rising again from the dead to reunite with His disciples. As Jesus explained, the resurrection turns sorrow into joy. “Jesus saw that they wanted to ask him about this, so he said to them, ‘Are you asking one another what I meant when I said, “In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me?” Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy'” (John 16:19-20).
— Bill Kent, Pastor of Memorial Baptist Church, Sylvania, Georgia
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