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The text for this lesson is Genesis 40–41

Key Point

  • Joseph revealed himself to his brothers and forgave them. Our Lord Jesus Christ reveals Himself to us and forgives us in His Holy Word and Sacraments.
  • Law: The sin I refuse to confess troubles my conscience and separates me from others and from God.
  • Gospel: In His mercy, God invites me to confess my sins and promises to forgive them for Jesus’ sake.

Discussion Points

  1. Think of a time when a family member or friend sinned against you and hurt you. How did you react to that person the next time you saw him or her? Now think of that same person and sin. How can you learn to look at that event as God’s will to humble you and bring you closer to Him and closer to your family member or friend?
  2. Read through Genesis 42 to see how Joseph’s brothers happened to meet him in Egypt. How did God once again use ordinary, natural world events to accomplish His purpose of saving His people? Why did Joseph’s brothers not recognize him (42:8)? How did Joseph’s dreams (37:5–11) become fulfilled as the situation unfolded?
  3. Why did Joseph apparently treat his brothers with suspicion and harshness by accusing them of being spies and then putting them in prison for three days? How did Joseph show them mercy in this first meeting? Why did they view Joseph’s kindness with such fear?
  4. Summarize what Joseph did when he saw his brothers again, this time with Benjamin in their company. How did the brothers react to Joseph’s kindness in 43:18–22, and how did the servant respond in 43:23? How did Joseph begin to reveal that he knew something about these brothers?
  5. Read through Genesis 44. Summarize the test that Joseph gave his brothers when they began to return home the second time. How did Judah intercede on behalf of Benjamin in 44:18–34? How does this selfless act by Judah foreshadow the intercession of our Lord Jesus Christ for all people?
  6. Read through Genesis 45 to see how Joseph finally revealed himself to his brothers. What prompted this? In 45:5, how did Joseph absolve his brothers for what they had done to him? In 45:7, what does Joseph teach us about God’s Church as he glorifies God for sending him to Egypt?
  7. Joseph’s brothers lived with unconfessed sin for twenty-two years, and it weighed them down. How does your unconfessed sin weigh you down and change your outlook on your day-to-day life? How can you use God’s forgiveness, given in Jesus Christ crucified and risen, to effect healing between you and your family or friends? See Colossians 3:12–13.?
  8. When Jacob died (Genesis 50:15–21), Joseph’s brothers were filled with fear because they were still troubled by their sin and doubted Joseph’s forgiveness. What did Joseph say to them when they confessed their sins? How are we like the brothers when God forgives us? Read Romans 8:28 and discuss the similarities between this verse and Joseph’s words in Genesis 50:20.

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