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Jesus and his brothers

Jesus said, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household.”  That was certainly true of Jesus.  His mother Mary honored him because the angel Gabriel had foretold his birth and he had been born while she was still a virgin.  Joseph honored him because after he discovered that Mary was pregnant an angel appeared to him in a dream to tell him that Jesus had been conceived by the Holy Spirit and that he would save his people from their sins.  But after he was born Joseph and Mary had other children.  There were four boys named James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas, and an unspecified number of girls.  These children had not received the divine revelations their parents had and they thought that Jesus was just an ordinary person like them. Read the rest of this entry

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God’s promises delayed

The Israelites were slaves in Egypt.  They prayed for freedom and God heard their prayers.  He appeared to Moses and appointed him to deliver the people.

Then the LORD said, “I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters. I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. And now, behold, the cry of the people of Israel has come to me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them.Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.”  (Exodus 13:7-10)

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Promises delayed

The Israelites spent 400 years in Egypt.  They were invited to settle in Egypt to escape the famine in their own land.  At first they were honored guests but that status changed.

Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. And he said to his people, “Behold, the people of Israel are too many and too mighty for us. Come, let us deal shrewdly with them, lest they multiply, and, if war breaks out, they join our enemies and fight against us and escape from the land.” 

Therefore they set taskmasters over them to afflict them with heavy burdens. They built for Pharaoh store cities, Pithom and Raamses.  (Exodus 1:8-11)

The people prayed to God for freedom from their bondage and God chose Moses to answer their prayers.

Then the Lord said, “I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters. I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. And now, behold, the cry of the people of Israel has come to me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them. Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.”   (Exodus 3:7-10)
 

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King Joseph

The Bible says nothing about any king named Joseph.  The Jews had 23 kings, beginning with Saul and ending with Zedekiah.  The ten tribes that broke away had 20 kings, beginning with Jeroboam and ending with Hoshea.  Many foreign kings are mentioned by name.  None of these kings is named Joseph.

But there is one person in the Bible who had the right to call himself King Joseph.

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The genealogies of Jesus

If you read the Bible regularly you know that much of it consists of genealogies.  Many of us find them uninteresting; we skim through them and wonder why they are in the Bible at all.  But if we believe the Bible was inspired by God we must also believe that the genealogies are important or God wouldn’t have included them in the Bible in the first place.

We live in a culture which emphasizes individual rights and freedoms.  Sometimes we focus so much on individuality that we forget we are also connected to others.  The genealogies remind us of one of the most important connections, that of family.

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