[To see the last post on Genesis go to The Consequences of Calling Your Own Shots–Genesis 49:29]
So Joseph went up to bury his father. All Pharaoh’s officials accompanied him—the dignitaries of his court and all the dignitaries of Egypt—
Chariots and horsemen also went up with him. It was a very large company.
When the Canaanites who lived there saw the mourning at the threshing floor of Atad, they said, “The Egyptians are holding a solemn ceremony of mourning.”
What’s All The Fuss?
I was involved in a huge funeral once. Two friends died in the prime of life, in an ATV accident. They were firefighters and we had this huge procession through town with fire department vehicles. The streets were lined with well wishers. There were even helicopters flying overhead above the procession. One helicopter flew a giant American flag underneath. Another filmed the whole event in high def. Had my two friends been insurance salesmen none of that would have happened. It was their relationship with the fire department that resulted in such an ambitious funeral.
Jacob’s funeral was a much bigger deal than my friends’. Every single one of Pharaoh’s officials were there. Every dignitary from the nation of Egypt was there. All of Joseph’s family was there. Chariots and horsemen were even there. The funeral lasted a whole week. This thing was huge. When the people of Canaan saw it, it was easy to recognize someone very important had passed away. But why? Why was Jacob honored in such spectacular fashion?
One reason: it was because of his relationship with Joseph.
Jacob was the father of the Prime Minister of Egypt. Jacob was the father of the one who saved all of Egypt and the surrounding nations from a brutal seven year famine. If Jacob was just another Hebrew man from Caanan, there’s no way he would have received this kind of funeral. It’s because of Joseph all the officials, dignitaries, horses, and chariots were there honoring him.
What It Means For You
It’s the same for me and it’s the same for you. Our relationship with the greater than Joseph, Jesus, is the key to what happens to us in the end. Because nothing we do apart from Christ will count. Any honor, any tribute, anything that will last, anything that will count in eternity, will happen for you because of your relationship with Jesus Christ. Jesus himself tells you and tells me, apart from him you can do nothing. (John 15:5) It’s your connection with Christ that counts. At the end of the day, you won’t care about how high you climbed the corporate ladder, or your score on Call of Duty, or your wardrobe, or how nice your house was. You’ll only care about your connection, your connection with Jesus Christ, and what fruit you bore as a result of that connection.
It’s your connection to Christ that fuels your ability to love. It’s your connection to Christ that fuels your ability to live out the attributes listed in 1 Corinthians 13, to be patient, to not envy, to not boast, to be absent of pride, to avoid dishonoring others, to not be self seeking, to not be easily angered, to keep no record of wrongs. (1 Corinthians 13:4-5)
But you can see what happens to you and to me, without that connection with Christ: impatience, irritability, a lack of grace and kindness in speech, envy over the better situations of others, holding onto past injuries and hurts from others. What happens? Apart from Christ the very opposite of love happens. (Keller)
At the end of the day, you, like everyone else, are so lost, so flawed, and so full of fault, Jesus had to die for you. But you are also so loved and so valued, Jesus was willing to die for you. And he is glad to connect with you. (Keller)
The Redemptive Power Of Connection
It’s interesting how Jesus likens our connection with him to a vine. “I am the vine; you are the branches,” he says. “If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5) Without connection to Jesus, you’re like a cut flower in a vase. You look, and feel, and smell just like a flower connected to roots in good soil. But the disconnection from your roots is a problem. You become withered over time, until, in the end your thrown away. (John 15:6) It’s no accident another name for Jesus is the “root of Jesse.” (Romans 15:12)
As Jacob only received great honor in Canaan because of his relationship with Joseph, the only reason you’ll be received in heaven is because of your relationship with Jesus.