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Then he sent his brothers away, and as they were leaving he said to them, “Don’t quarrel on the way!” – Genesis 45:24

This warning of Joseph to his brothers as he sent them back to Canaan to get their father and families to bring them to Egypt is one we need to meditate on as well.

Quarreling will disrupt a family, a congregation, a wider fellowship of congregations, or the entire Christian community.

Joseph said, “Don’t quarrel on the way.”

“The Way” was one way early Christians spoke of themselves. Saul of Tarsus went to Damascus to find those “who belonged to the Way” (Acts 9:2). When Paul was in Ephesus, some in the synagogue of the Jews “publicly maligned the Way” (Acts 19:9). Later, in the city itself, “there arose a great disturbance about the Way” (Acts 19:23). When he defended himself before the Jews while being hustled off to a Roman prison, Paul spoke of his past career in Judaism: “I persecuted the followers of this Way to their death, arresting both men and women...” (Acts 22:4). A little later, he admitted to Felix, “I worship the God of our fathers as a follower of the Way, which they call a sect” (Acts 24:14). Felix was a Roman governor “who was well acquainted with the Way” (Acts 24:22).

This way of speaking, doubtless, came from what Jesus said to His disciples His last night with them before His crucifixion. He told them He was going away from them, but “You know the way to the place where I am going.” When He said this, Thomas responded:

“Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” – John 14:5-6 [emphasis added – JS]

In a recent blog, Matt Dabbs commented on this,

Jesus proceeds to tell them that the way is not a direction, a path or points on a map. The way is a person, Jesus Christ, “I am the way….”….  The very best Christianity has to offer is not summed up in a creedal statement, a set of doctrines, or traditions. It is best summed up by the man Jesus Christ.

Do not quarrel while you are on the Way! Walk in Jesus and let Him guide you.

Jesus prayed for this while He was on the road to Gethsemane:

My prayer is not for them [i.e., the Twelve – JS] alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. – John 17:20-23

Note Paul’s distress when he wrote the church at Corinth:

My brothers, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas”; still another, “I follow Christ.” – 1 Corinthians 1:11-12

This is also why Paul warned Timothy:

Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will. – 2 Timothy 2:22-26

No, my brothers, we must not quarrel on The Way!


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