Then he commanded the steward of his house, “Fill the men’s sacks with food, as much as they can carry, and put each man’s money in the mouth of his sack, and put my cup, the silver cup, in the mouth of the sack of the youngest, with his money for the grain.” And he did as Joseph told him.
As soon as the morning was light, the men were sent away with their donkeys. They had gone only a short distance from the city. Now Joseph said to his steward, “Up, follow after the men, and when you overtake them, say to them, ‘Why have you repaid evil for good? Is it not from this that my lord drinks, and by this that he practices divination? You have done evil in doing this.’”
When he overtook them, he spoke to them these words. They said to him, “Why does my lord speak such words as these? Far be it from your servants to do such a thing! Behold, the money that we found in the mouths of our sacks we brought back to you from the land of Canaan. How then could we steal silver or gold from your lord’s house? Whichever of your servants is found with it shall die, and we also will be my lord’s servants.” He said, “Let it be as you say: he who is found with it shall be my servant, and the rest of you shall be innocent.” Then each man quickly lowered his sack to the ground, and each man opened his sack. And he searched, beginning with the eldest and ending with the youngest. And the cup was found in Benjamin’s sack. Then they tore their clothes, and every man loaded his donkey, and they returned to the city. Genesis 44:1-13 ESV
And he came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed him. And when he came to the place, he said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. And when he rose from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping for sorrow, and he said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation.” Luke 22:39-46 ESV
Marie was near the end of the term in her college classes. Her philosophy class had been especially rough. There had been a few quizzes throughout the term, and now it was time for the final exam. All the students studied for hours for this test. All the quizzes that they had taken were small compared with this. The quizzes were just meant to help prepare them and keep them on track. They had to pass the final exam if they hoped to pass the class.
Joseph’s brothers were facing their final exam now. Everything Joseph had done to test them before was leading them up to this test. He wanted to find out if they were still mean and cruel. Would they let their brother Benjamin become a slave the way they had sold Joseph into slavery so many years before? Would they let their aged father be broken-hearted about losing Benjamin? What would they do? It was time to find out!
Jesus also faced a final exam. He had come to lay down his life for the sins of the world. His death on the cross was God’s plan for him, and he came to obey his Heavenly Father’s plan. But all through his ministry, he was tempted to turn away from the cross. Each time, he continued to go the way his Father wanted him to go. Now the time had come for him to die. It was his final test. Would he go to the cross to save us, even though it would be a very hard thing to do?
It’s wonderful to know that Jesus passed his final exam. He loved us so much that he went to the cross so that our sins could be forgiven. We belong to him forever, and he is with us all the time. Any time we are tempted to turn away from him and do things that displease him, Jesus stays with us and helps us. He will always help us when we are tested. He forgives us when we fail, and strengthens us to depend on him in our tests.
Dear Jesus, thank you for dying for us. Please be with us and help us always. Amen.