Joseph Forgives Brothers • Devotion #3: Matthew 18:21-35
Isaiah Combs | Worship Leader
The story of Joseph in the Bible is one of the best examples of forgiveness.
If you would like to read the story, it is found in Genesis chapters 37-50. However, here is a shortened version.
Joseph seemed to brag a lot about the dreams God gave him and it is obvious that Joseph is his father, Jacob’s favorite. The ten older brothers do not like the bragging and favoritism. They become bitter as their hatred grows. So they sell their brother into slavery, and they tell Jacob that Joseph was eaten by a wild animal. Joseph spends the next ten to fifteen years as a slave and then in prison.
The Pharaoh (AKA King of Egypt) has a dream that only Joseph is able to interpret. Pharaoh is pleased with Joseph and made him second in charge over all of Egypt.
The dream Joseph interpreted was that there was going to be a famine for seven years after the present seven years of abundance. So Joseph sets up Egypt to make it through the famine and have so much food that people would travel from all over to get food from Egypt.
Josephs brothers were some of the people that needed food. So when they came to Egypt to get food, Joseph recognized them. Instead of killing or making slaves out of the brothers, he forgives them. Genesis 50:20 is a very powerful verse, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.” Joseph chose forgiveness before he even saw his brothers. He knew that God had forgiven him for the things he had done. He knew God was guiding his path the whole time.
Jesus gives a parable in Mathew 18:21-35 after Peter asks Him a question about forgiveness. The parable speaks of a servant (servant 1) who owed a lot to the king. He had no way that he could pay for it. The king had every right to make servant 1 and his family slaves until the debt was paid. Instead, the rich man showed pity on servant 1 and forgave him his debt.
Servant 1 then went out and to find servant 2 that owned him a little money. Servant 2 asked for mercy, but the other servant refused and ordered him to be thrown into jail until he could pay him back. When the king found out that servant 1 did not forgive servant 2, he had servant 1 thrown in jail until he can pay him back.
This is what Jesus requires us to do. We are servant 1 who has been forgiven for an amount that is unpayable. We have been forgiven for everything we have ever done. So, Jesus requires us to forgive others for the large and small things they do to us. Forgiveness is hard. But since we have been forgiven for so much, we should forgive others, too.