When Joseph came home, they brought into the house to him the present that they had with them and bowed down to him to the ground. Genesis 43:26
While Joseph knew the brothers, they did not recognize him. He spoke a different language, had a shaved head, and was wearing the cosmetics of the Egyptian aristocracy over his eyes. Who is Joseph?
The ruler who knows them
Joseph knew who his brothers were and what they had done, but they did not know his true identity. When they were brought into the banquet, they were seated in order, from oldest to youngest. “And the men looked at one another in amazement” (43:33). They thought, “How does this ruler in Egypt know the birth order of eleven brothers?”
When the brothers spoke to their father about Joseph, they referred to him as “the man.” You find this seven times in the story (42:30, 33; and 43:3, 5, 6, 13, 14). He was just a man. That’s the way people who don’t know or love God speak about Him, isn’t it? That’s why we sometimes hear people refer to God as the man upstairs.
The brother who loves them
Yet, the person they refer to as “the man” was not only the ruler who knew them, but he was also the brother who loved them. You see his love throughout the story, but especially when Joseph saw Benjamin for the first time. He had to run out and find a private place to weep, because his compassion swelled so intensely from his great love (43:30).
The victim who is ready to forgive them
Joseph was the victim who was ready to forgive them, though they didn’t yet know they had sinned against him. The brothers’ conscience was awakened; they knew that they had sinned. What they didn’t know was: the person they’d sinned against was the one at whose table they were now eating.
Was there a time when you recognized that Jesus is the Son of God who loves you and laid down His life for you, but now you are having a hard time recognizing Him?