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This devotion is part of the Jesse Tree Advent devotion series. 

Scripture reading: Genesis 37:1-36

The story of Joseph and his brothers is not the Bible’s only story of betrayal and denial.

Judah isn’t the last person who values money over a close relationship—think of Judas, who betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. And Reuben isn’t alone in his cowardice. Think of Peter on the night that Jesus was arrested: he too was too ashamed to stand up in defense of the innocent. Nor is Joseph the only person to end up alone in the pit of despair. Jesus himself knows what it’s like to be betrayed, ignored, and left for dead. He knows all about being at the bottom of a dark pit when you don’t deserve it.

The incredible thing is that whichever brother you’re most like—the traitor, the coward, or the one at the bottom of the pit—Jesus Christ loves you. If you’re a Judah or a Reuben, you are forgiven. God cherishes you as a precious child.

And if you’re a Joseph, the one deep down in the dark pit, Christ himself is there with you. You’re not alone. Jesus is holding you close and loving you.

Prayer

 Lord, what a relief it is that the Bible is full of real people, whose weaknesses are so like my own. Forgive me for my failings and assure me of your love and presence. Amen.

About the author

Grace Claus is resident theologian and editor for Faithward. She's also managing editor of RCA Today, the denominational magazine of the Reformed Church in America.