8And He gave him the covenant of circumcision; and so Abraham fathered Isaac, and circumcised him on the eighth day; and Isaac fathered Jacob, and Jacob, the twelve patriarchs.
9“The patriarchs became jealous of Joseph and sold him into Egypt. Yet God was with him, 10and rescued …
8And he gave him the covenant of circumcision: and so Abraham begat Isaac, and circumcised him the eighth day; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat the twelve patriarchs. 9And the patriarchs, moved with envy, sold Joseph into Egypt: but God was with him, 10And delivered him …
The New Testament repeatedly points back to individuals from the Old Testament to demonstrate a life of saving faith. As Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones continues the study of Acts 7 with the sermon “A Blind World,” it is in Joseph that a kind of Christ is seen. Joseph was hated and betrayed by his brothers for no other reason than their jealousy and anger. But in a few years’ time, it was his brothers that came to him seeking help and relief from the famine. In a similar way, Jesus was persecuted, betrayed, and ultimately murdered because the Jewish leaders were jealous. The great irony is that the Jewish leaders murdered their own long-awaited Messiah, the very one who came to save them from their sins. Dr. Lloyd-Jones points out that this rejection of God and His will demonstrates the spiritual blindness and rebellion that propels opposition to the gospel. It is not clear and rational thought but blind prejudice that has its source in sinful hearts that will not submit to God’s ways. This must always be in mind when unbelief and opposition to the gospel is seen. It is not a matter of intelligent and reasonable methods that prompt people to harden their hearts when they hear of Christ and his death and resurrection but it is sin and unbelief. It is only by the power of the Holy Spirit that anyone can come to true knowledge of God.
- Stephen is addressing the Sanhedrin, the Jewish court that put Jesus on trial.
- Stephen is arguing that the Sanhedrin's rejection of Jesus is consistent with how their ancestors rejected God's messengers.
- Stephen uses the story of Joseph and his brothers to illustrate this. Joseph's brothers rejected him out of envy and prejudice, just as the Sanhedrin rejected Jesus.
- The grounds for rejecting Joseph and Jesus were their claims to authority and uniqueness. But the real cause was moral blindness, prejudice, and envy.
- The enormity of rejecting Joseph and Jesus is clear in how unjustly and cruelly they were treated. Joseph was sold into slavery and Jesus was crucified, even though they were innocent.
- Yet despite this rejection, Joseph and Jesus end up saving those who rejected them. Joseph provides food during the famine and Jesus provides salvation.
The Book of Acts
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh evangelical minister who preached and taught in the Reformed tradition. His principal ministry was at Westminster Chapel, in central London, from 1939-1968, where he delivered multi-year expositions on books of the bible such as Romans, Ephesians and the Gospel of John. In addition to the MLJ Trust’s collection of 1,600 of these sermons in audio format, most of these great sermon series are available in book form (including a 14 volume collection of the Romans sermons), as are other series such as "Spiritual Depression", "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" and "Great Biblical Doctrines". He is considered by many evangelical leaders today to be an authority on biblical truth and the sufficiency of Scripture.