Two guys, Pharaoh’s chief cupbearer and chief baker, are in jail. They committed severe offences against Pharaoh. In ancient Egypt, Pharaoh held his prisoners in a particular prison, the reason being, if he found them not guilty, he would reinstate them, and if found guilty, executed immediately. Serving Pharaoh was a dangerous career path.
In the same jail is Joseph. Joseph is in jail, falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife of unwarranted sexual advances, a severe crime. Potiphar knows that the accusation is false, but he sends Joseph to the king’s prison to satisfy his wife’s whims. He whispers to the chief jailer to treat Joseph with respect.
One night, the chief cupbearer and chief baker dreamt.
Here is the chief cupbearer’s dream.
Genesis 40:9-11 (NLT)
In my dream,” he said, “I saw a grapevine in front of me. The vine had three branches that began to bud and blossom, and soon it produced clusters of ripe grapes. I was holding Pharaoh’s wine cup in my hand, so I took a cluster of grapes and squeezed the juice into the cup. Then I placed the cup in Pharaoh’s hand.
Then Joseph interprets the dream.
Genesis 40:12-13 (NLT)
“This is what the dream means,” Joseph said. “The three branches represent three days. Within three days, Pharaoh will lift you up and restore you to your position as his chief cupbearer.
The chief baker overhearing the favourable interpretation, tells Joseph his dream, hoping Joseph would give him a good answer. Here are his dreams and Joseph’s interpretation.
Genesis 40:16-19 (NLT)
I had a dream, too. In my dream, there were three baskets of white pastries stacked on my head. The top basket contained all kinds of pastries for Pharaoh, but the birds came and ate them from the basket on my head.” “This is what the dream means,” Joseph told him. “The three baskets also represent three days. Three days from now, Pharaoh will lift you up and impale your body on a pole. Then birds will come and peck away at your flesh.
Precisely as Joseph had interpreted their dreams, days later, Pharaoh restored the chief cupbearer to his position and hung the chief baker.
A few years ago, I discovered that the Bible is all about Jesus. In every story, proverb, prophecy, and even persons, Jesus is hiding in the shadows waiting to be revealed. Since that time, I have been on a Jesus hunt, seeking him in the Old Covenant stories, studying the Bible to see Jesus, to gaze into his glorious face.
Is Jesus in this story of the chief cupbearer, chief baker and Joseph? Oh, yes, he is.
We are the chief cupbearer and chief baker. Against the heavenly king, we have committed offences, have been found guilty and now await sentencing and judgment.
Oh, Schulter, I am a good person. I am not a lawbreaker. Oh, really? Wait! The Bible does not call one a sinner because they do sinful things; instead, the Bible calls one a sinner because they were born that way. Were you born that way? Oh yes. Our natural origins are from Adam and Eve. When Adam sinned against God, God imputed his sin to all of us.
Romans 5:12 (NLT)
When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned.
Romans 5:17 (NLT)
For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many.
Romans 5:18 (NLT)
Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone.
Romans 5:19 (NLT)
Because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners.
So, whether or not one is a good person, it does not matter. From God’s viewpoint, we are sinners because of what Adam did. We have broken his law and now await sentencing and judgment.
Do you still protest? Think of this; when has anyone fully lived up to their rules? When? If one has not, then one’s rules condemn them. What about God’s much more superior laws? Have you kept them to the tee? No, you have not. Then admit you are a sinner.
If then all of us are the chief cupbearer and chief baker, we either suffer, or someone suffers in our place so we can be forgiven and restored. In short, we need grace.
What is grace? Grace is receiving from God what one does not deserve on account of Jesus. Jesus bore our judgment and was punished for our sin so we could receive His righteousness.
Is Jesus in the chief cupbearer’s dream?
Yes, he is. Jesus is the vine. In John 15, Jesus said, I am the vine. Jesus is the vine with three branches that budded and blossomed and soon produced clusters of ripe grapes. The ripe grapes were crushed, and their juices poured into the king’s cup. Jesus, the vine was crushed, so when the heavenly king received the cup from his hand, he would drink, be satisfied and restore us.
Is Jesus in the chief baker’s dream?
Yes, he is. Jesus is the bread on the chief baker’s head. Bread? How is bread made? Wheat or barley seeds are crushed, made into dough, pounded and burnt with fire. In John 6:35, Jesus said he is the bread of life. Like the chief baker, Jesus was crushed, pounded and burnt with God’s fire. He then hang on a tree. (Galatians 3:13). Unlike the chief baker who was guilty, Jesus was sinless, yet was made sin so that sinners could be made sinless.
Are we guilty? Yes. Are we condemned? Yes. Has Jesus borne suffering on our behalf? Yes, he has. God gives us what we do not deserve, and much more than that, he restores us in Jesus’ work for us. Now we are more than cupbearers. We are now sons of God and joint-heirs with Jesus. (Galatians 3:46, 4:4-7)
Jesus is everywhere. The gospel of grace is everywhere. Even in stories that seem tragic and unfair, Jesus is there.
How would one live if they knew that Jesus bore their punishment? Would one live like a pauper yet are a son?
I thought you should know Jesus became the chief cupbearer and chief baker for you. Your sins have been forgiven. Your forgiveness and restoration came at a tremendous cosmic cost.
Now then, go live and enjoy life.
That’s what grace looks like.
Photo by Douglas Lopez on Unsplash
Photo by fran hogan on Unsplash