The Entreaty to Come
‘Come near to me, I pray you.’—Gen. xlv. 4.
‘THERE stood no man with him, while Joseph A made himself known to his brethren. And he wept aloud.’1 They had hated him, conspired against him to slay him, very nearly killed him, sold him into exile and slavery, and here was the brother’s recompense for all this—love! No such exquisite story of love and forgiveness was ever imagined by any writer; no such climax of tenderness as Joseph’s words through his tears, ‘Come near to me, I pray you.’ Only one thing surpasses the type, and that is the anti-type.
Our Elder Brother was more than ‘very nearly killed.’ He poured out His soul unto death.* We are not innocent of His blood ;* for ‘ He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities.’* ‘Christ died for our sins. Mark that,—not merely ‘ for us,’ but ‘for our sins,’ for yours.
1 Gen. xlv. i. 2 Isa. liii. 12. 3 Zech. xiii. 6.
4 Isa. liii. 5. 5 I Cor. xv. 3.
And where has been the love and gratitude that you have owed Him all this time ?1 Where has been the mere acknowledgment of what He has suffered fcr your sins?’ He did this for you, and because of you. And what have you done for Him, and because of Him ?*
And what could you now expect from Him? What did Joseph’s brothers expect after their behavior to him? Well may the Lord say, ‘I know the thoughts that I think towards you—thoughts of peace, and not of evil.’* For just as Joseph’s words to his brethren were not, ‘Go away, I will have no more to do with you,’ so the Lord Jesus ‘ upbraideth not,’ but says, ‘Come near to Me, I pray you.’
His whole life says it. It is the epitome of all He said and did,—winning, beseeching, entreating the far-off to come nigh, giving His own blood that they might be made nigh.5
What is the eloquence of ‘those wounds in Thine hands? Are they not always saying, ‘I pray you’? For ‘all day long I have stretched forth My hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.”
‘All day long,’ while you are dressing, and eating, and talking, and laughing, and working or amusing yourself, Jesus is stretching forth His hands to you, calling you, waiting for you, looking for the first little thrill of recognition from you, saying, ‘I am Jesus whom thou persecutest,8 whom thou neglectest, whom thou grievest.’
1 Ps. cxvi. 12; 2 Cor v. 15. 2 i Pet. iii. 18.
3 Phil. iii. 8. 4 Jer. xxix. n. 5 Eph. ii. 13.
6 Zech. xiii. 6. 1 Rom. x. 21. 8 Acts ix. 5.
Joseph’s brethren were troubled at his presence.1 Do you reply, ‘Therefore I am troubled at His presence; when I consider, I am afraid of Him Would you, honestly, rather flee from His presence? Stay and listen.
‘Come near to Me, I pray you.’
There is forgiveness with Him;* will you not come and receive it ?—Forgiveness for you, though every sin of yours that is forgiven had to be borne in His dying agony.5 His love has not changed from the moment when He said, ‘Father, forgive them.” What must that love have been! And what must it be for you and me, for whom He cannot make the gracious excuse, ‘They know not what they do!’
Come alone to Him, and Jesus will make known Himself and His forgiving love to you.
One there is above all others,
Well deserves the name of Friend;
His is love beyond a brother’s, Costly, free, and knows no end :
They who once His kindness prove
Find it everlasting love.
1 Gen. xlv. 3. 2 Job xxiii. 15. 3 Ps. cxxxix. 7.
4 Ps. cxxx. 4. S I Pet. ii. 34. 6 Luke xxiii. 34.
7 Gen. xlv. i.