Athlete, You Have An Inheritance

*This series was written by the AIA staff team at UVA

Read Genesis 48

By counting Joseph’s two sons as his own (48:5), Jacob is giving Joseph, the preeminent Christ-figure in the latter half of Genesis, a double-portion of his inheritance.  Joseph’s two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, will each receive a large allotment of land when Israel is later given the promised land of Canaan.  This double-portion was traditionally reserved for the firstborn son.  Joseph, however, received the double-portion not by virtue of his birth order, but by virtue of his life.  Here we see yet another way that Joseph’s life points to Jesus.  Jesus, too, receives the inheritance of the “firstborn” (Romans 8:29; Colossians 1:15-20; Hebrews 1:6. 12:23, Revelation 1:5), not by virtue of his birth but by virtue of his life, death, and resurrection.  With this understanding, we see that Jesus’ title of “firstborn” in no way connotes that He is a created being, but rather that He receives the greater inheritance of a firstborn son!

Jacob has truly learned to trust in the ways of God by this point, after trying to control his own life for so long.  Like Isaac, he too could barely see in his old age (48:10).  Unlike Isaac, he did not resist the untraditional ways of God.  Not only does he give Joseph the double-portion among his sons, he also crosses his hands to bless Ephraim, Joseph's the second son, ahead of Manasseh, Joseph's firstborn.

Questions for Reflection and Prayer

1. Consider the inheritance of Jesus, our great Shepherd.  His land is a new earth, refined and perfected.  His flock is a people from every tongue, tribe and nation, refined and perfected.  His blessing is the abundant production and beauty of the new earth, and the immediate presence of his Father.  He shares all of this with his brothers and sisters, those who are united to him by faith.  Today, are you living in the reality that you share in this inheritance, by virtue of his life, death, and resurrection?  

2. Since this is our future, we can be assured that anything we do in his name, for his glory, is not in vain (1 Corinthians 15:58; Colossians 3:23).  Jesus even calls us to pray that this future would invade our present reality (Matthew 6:10).  What might it look like for you to work, play, and love toward this eternal future, as opposed to a shaky, short-lived and self-conceived future?

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