Thanks to a friend who had an extra ticket for the Sight and Sound Theatre, I attended the dramatization of the Old Testament story of Joseph, from the time of his being sold into slavery until the time of his reunion with Jacob, at. This theatre advertises themselves as Christian Bible Entertainment. While I’ve see better acting and heard better singing at Muhlenberg College’s student theatre, the power of God’s Truth dramatized before my eyes brought me to tears at the end. Glory to Him!
Creative license, of course, was taken with the story – a disclaimer clearly communicated to the audience before the start of the show. One would be hard pressed to dramatize anything like this without it.
One such place I saw this taken was with Joseph’s wife, Asenath. The story was spun that in a previous encounter with her, Joseph spoke of his belief in the One True God who loves all, “including you Asenath”. (I tried to not let my cynicism interfere in the moment.) During the ensuing years, prior to her being presented to Joseph as his wife, she became a believer in the One True God, setting aside her worship of many gods. Thus Joseph and Asenath’s marriage was not a “mixed” marriage of pagan and Christian. I will admit, that is plausible; however, I chuckled anyway.
Another place was Joseph’s imprisonment. In the dramatization he taught the other prisoners to read and managed the prison’s financial records. Okay, I can buy that too.
The foreshadowing of the New Testament and Christ really struck me. Though I am well familiar with the story and have heard numerous sermons on it, it really hit me between the eyes. In the drama, when Joseph was lifted up to heaven, his body position was like it was lying on a cross. Other things which caused me to pause and see this were:
- Joseph being sold into slavery because of his brother’s jealousy (Christ’s being ‘sold’ by Judas for 30 pieces of silver),
- Joseph being thrown down into a pit (Christ’s descent into hell),
- Joseph being betrayed by his brothers (Christ’s betrayal by Peter),
- Joseph being mocked for his ‘dreams’ (Christ being mocked for His teachings),
- Judah being willing to be traded for Benjamin when Joseph wanted to keep him for ‘stealing’ (Christ pays for our sins by His death on the cross),
- Joseph’s complete forgiveness towards his brothers (God’s forgiveness of our confessed sins),
- Joseph’s setting the banquet table for his brothers (God setting the banquet table of eternity for us).
The physical movements in this last scene made me think of the lion laying down with the lamb because the actor who played Judah crouched low with his head nearly to the floor when he begged Joseph for Benjamin’s release and the ‘Lion of Judah’ laying down His life for His lambs.
The last scene when Joseph saw his father Jacob afar off, he called so loudly his voice echoed in the theatre, “Father!!” Just like the Prodigal Son must have called. And Jacob answered just as loudly, “My son!” They embraced and Joseph wept on his father’s shoulders…and frankly, tears came to my eyes despite the cheesyness of the show. The power of knowing how much God loves us and wants us to be united with Him just really hit me.
I think, too, the fact that all of my anger following the death of my mother, which was misdirected at my father, has gone away and has been replaced with love and compassion helped me feel the poignant moment of Jacob and Joseph’s reunion.
May it be that when we are called to eternity, our experience will be one of ‘reunion’ with our God such as that of Joseph and Jacob.
And God said, “It is good.”