Jesus: God’s Right Hand Man (“The Arm of the Lord”)

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Isaiah 53:1
Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the LORD [Yahweh] been revealed?

The above verse is set amidst the classic Messianic section of Isaiah 52:13-53:12, which graphically depicts the suffering (the “passion”) that Jesus would have to endure in order to fulfill his mission as the Redeemer of mankind. His being figuratively referred to as the “arm of the Lord” is most significant.

God is spirit (John 4:24), and therefore has no arms, literally speaking. Being invisible, God needed a human representative who could, if he would, conduct his life so as to make Him known to a world of people oriented to what they could see, hear, smell, taste, or touch. We now know that Jesus of Nazareth was that man.

Chapter 12 of our book, One God & One Lord is titled “God’s Namesake in Action.” It shows how Jesus is named after his Father, and how, in his ministry on earth among mankind, much of what Jesus did re-presented what God had done for His people in the Old Testament as “the LORD who provides,” “the LORD who heals,” etc. It also shows that the work Jesus did on earth was a “preview of coming attractions,” that is, a taste of what he will do as “King” in the future Millennial Kingdom.

It is now in his exalted and expanded ministry to Christians as “Lord” and “Head of the Body, the Church,” that Jesus is functioning as God’s “right hand man” in a far greater capacity than he did when he was on earth. Each member of the Body of Christ can count on the Lord Jesus doing for him what he did when he walked the earth.

Let us consider that relatively brief period of time when Jesus carried out the job God set before him as the Redeemer of mankind. As the Son of God, “The Man” who was to perfectly re-present his heavenly Father to a dying world, Jesus was busy. He had places to go and people to see. He had much work to do, and not much time to do it. In that vein, the following verse is pertinent:

John 5:17
Jesus said to them [the Jews who were persecuting him], “My Father is always at work [un]to this very day, and I, too, am working.”

Jesus was saying that the work God had done from Genesis until that time was to make it possible for him to be born and have the opportunity to carry out his ministry as the Savior of man—and that now it was his turn to work. What “work” had Jesus just done? He had healed a lame man, like God healed people in the Old Testament.

It is most significant that the Old Testament was written primarily for Jesus. Yes, because Genesis through Malachi was his “ID,” if you will, telling him who he was (the promised “seed of the woman,” etc). It was also the “blueprint” for his life—and his gruesome death. And it was also his motivation to go all the way through the Cross, because in reading about many men and women who gave their lives for their belief in his coming as the Messiah, he became determined not to let them down.

The Old Testament was also his “coupon” for the kingship of the world that would be his if he fulfilled his mission. That was “the joy set before him” that enabled him to “endure the Cross.” So when you read the Old Testament, ask yourself what Jesus could have learned from what you are reading.

For example, let us consider the record of Joseph and the Egyptian Pharaoh in Genesis 41, noting the many parallels between the relationship of Joseph and Pharaoh and that of God and Jesus Christ. Remember that Jesus read and studied the life of Joseph, and learned from it what God wanted him to learn.

“Only with respect to the throne will I be greater than you.” – Pharaoh

“The Father is greater than I.” – Jesus

Joseph
Jesus

Joseph was 30 years old when he entered into service of Pharaoh.

Genesis 41:46

Joseph was thirty years old when he entered the service of Pharaoh king of Egypt.

Jesus was 30 years old when he began his public ministry.

Luke 3:23

Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry.

Joseph was betrayed by his brothers.

Genesis 37:28

So when the Midianite merchants came by, his brothers pulled Joseph up out of the cistern and sold him for twenty shekels of silver to the Ishmaelites, who took him to Egypt.

Jesus was betrayed by his “brothers.”

John 13:21

After he had said this, Jesus was troubled in spirit and testified, “I tell you the truth, one of you is going to betray me.”

Joseph saved his betraying brothers.

Genesis 45:7

But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.

Jesus is also the savior of his betraying brothers.

Romans 10:13

Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

Pharaoh put Joseph in charge of the whole land of Egypt.

Genesis 41:41

So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I hereby put you in charge of the whole land of Egypt.”

God put Jesus in charge of everything pertaining to the Church.

Ephesians 1:22

And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church.

Pharaoh exalted Joseph to the highest place possible.

Genesis 41:43a

He had him ride in a chariot as his second-in-command…

Genesis 41:40

You shall be in charge of my palace, and all my people are to submit to your orders.

God exalted Jesus to the highest place possible.

Philippians 2:9-11

(9) Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name,

(10) that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

(11) and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Pharaoh gave Joseph all authority and power in the land of Egypt.

Genesis 41:42

Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his finger and put it on Joseph’s finger. He dressed him in robes of fine linen and put a gold chain around his neck.

Genesis 41:41

So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I hereby put you in charge of the whole land of Egypt.”

God gave Jesus all authority in heaven and on earth.

Daniel 7:14

And to him was given dominion, glory and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations, and men of every language might serve him.

Matthew 28:18

Then Jesus came to them and said, All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.

Joseph was given a new name.

Genesis 41:45a

Pharaoh gave Joseph the name Zaphenath-Paneah…

Jesus is also given a new name.

Revelation 3:12b

I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on him my new name.

Pharaoh gave Joseph a bride.

Genesis 41:45b

…and [Pharaoh] gave him Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On, to be his wife.

God will give Jesus a bride.

Revelation 19:7

Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.

God made Joseph Lord of all Egypt.

Genesis 45:9a

…Joseph says: God has made me lord of all Egypt.

God made Jesus Lord of heaven and earth.

Acts 2:36

God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.

 

Jesus saw in Joseph a man who was innocent but wronged by his own brothers. He saw a man who was thrown in jail as a common criminal and subjected to many hardships. He also saw that because of Joseph’s faithfulness to God’s Word and his reliance on the power of God, he did something that no other man in Egypt could do. Because of Joseph’s obedience to God, he was raised from the status of a common criminal to a governmental position of the highest rank. Because of his deeds, Joseph was exalted to a position second only to Pharaoh and was given Pharaoh’s signet ring, which represented the authority and power of Pharaoh. In that position of authority, functionally equal with Pharaoh, Joseph was able to save the lives of his brothers. In Joseph, Jesus Christ saw himself. And he was faithful, all the way to his last breath.