The entire Old Testament points to Jesus. Every person, action, and command is meant to points us to the coming savior. In this blog, I will be highlighting one person in particular who is a radiant picture of Jesus Himself.
The story of Joseph can be found in Genesis chapters 37-50 and I highly recommend you read them! If you have never heard of Joseph, let me give you a brief summary of his crazy life:
He was the 11th son of Jacob (also known as Israel). He was Jacob's favorite son and was treated as such. At the age of seventeen he had several dreams, that when interpreted, represented his family bowing down to him. This, along with the partiality he was shown by their father, made Joseph's ten older brothers hate him. One day, Jacob sent Joseph out to tend to the older brothers who were supposed to be keeping the sheep. When the brothers saw Joseph approaching from a distance, they began to discuss ways to kill him. They tossed around several ideas, but eventually decided to just throw him in a pit. They stripped him of his tunic, and threw him in the pit. One of the brothers, named Rueben, had intentions of coming back for him, but before he could, the other brothers decided to sell him to some Midianite merchants who were passing through on their way to Egypt. They sold him for twenty shekels of silver.
Once the merchants arrived in Egypt, they sold Joseph to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh and captain of the guard. Joseph was blessed by God and Potiphar treated him very well. Unfortunately, Potiphar's wife was attracted to Joseph and day by day she tempted Joseph to commit adultery with her. He continually denied her attempts at him. One day, she grabbed him by his coat and tried to force him to lie with her. He fled so fast that he ran out of his coat, leaving it in her hands. She used his coat to falsely accuse him of rape, landing Joseph in the king's prison.
God again blessed Joseph and while he was in prison he was the head over all the other prisoners. Pharaoh's butler and baker landed themselves in prison, and to make a long story short, Joseph was able to interpret their dreams. When one of them got out, he forgot about Joseph for two full years. He was reminded of Joseph when Pharaoh had a peculiar dream that no one could interpret. He told Pharaoh about Joseph, and Pharaoh pulled Joseph out of prison to interpret this dream. Joseph, because of God's blessing, was able to accurately interpret Pharaoh's dream. For seven years the land would yield great crop, but after seven good years, the land would face a seven year famine where no crop would produce. Because Joseph was able to interpret his dream, they would be able to store up food for the seven bad years. Pharaoh was so impressed by Joseph that he deemed him second in charge of all of Egypt.
During the seven years of famine all countries came to Egypt for food because it was the only nation that had prepared. Joseph's family made their way to Egypt, and once again making a long story short, Joseph's brothers, not recognizing Joseph, bowed down to Him as master of Egypt. Rather than getting revenge and denying his brothers food, Jospeh received them with forgiving arms. He revealed to them who he was, and gave them a section of Egypt to live in.
"And the patriarchs, becoming envious, sold Joseph into Egypt. But God was with him and delivered him out of all his troubles, and gave him favor and wisdom in the presence of Pharaoh, king of Egypt; and he made him governor over Egypt and all his house. Now a famine and great trouble came over all the land of Egypt and Canaan, and our fathers found no sustenance. But when Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent out our fathers first. And the second time Joseph was made known to his brothers, and Joseph’s family became known to the Pharaoh. Then Joseph sent and called his father Jacob and all his relatives to him, seventy-five people." Acts 7:9-14
Now, lets look at some of the similarities between Joseph and Jesus:
1) Both were sent by their father to a people who would betray them
"And Israel said unto Joseph, Do not thy brethren feed the flock in Shechem? come, and I will send thee unto them. And he said to him, Here am I. And he said to him, Go, I pray thee, see whether it be well with thy brethren, and well with the flocks; and bring me word again. So he sent him out of the vale of Hebron, and he came to Shechem." Genesis 37:13-14
"He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him." John 1:10-11
"I came forth from the Father and have come into the world. Again, I leave the world and go to the Father.” John 16:28
2) Both were plotted against
"And when they saw him afar off, even before he came near unto them, they conspired against him to slay him." Genesis 37:18
"Then assembled together the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders of the people, unto the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas, and consulted that they might take Jesus by subtilty, and kill him ." Matthew 26:3-4
3) Both were sold
"Then there passed by Midianites merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmeelites for twenty pieces of silver: and they brought Joseph into Egypt." Genesis 37:28
"Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, and said unto them , What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver." Matthew 26:14-15
4) Both were tempted but remained faithful
"And it came to pass, as she spake to Joseph day by day, that he hearkened not unto her, to lie by her, or to be with her." Genesis 39:10
"Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil." Matthew 4:1
"For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin." Hebrews 4:15
5) Both were falsely accused
"So it was, when his master heard the words which his wife spoke to him, saying, “Your servant did to me after this manner,” that his anger was aroused. Then Joseph’s master took him and put him into the prison, a place where the king’s prisoners were confined. And he was there in the prison." Genesis 39:19-20
"And the chief priests and scribes stood and vehemently accused Him." Luke 23:10
"But He kept silent and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked Him, saying to Him, “Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” Jesus said, “I am. And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.” Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “What further need do we have of witnesses? You have heard the blasphemy! What do you think?” And they all condemned Him to be deserving of death." Mark 14:61-64
6) Both offered salvation to the Jews and the Gentiles (non Jews)
Joseph offered food during a famine:
"So all countries came to Joseph in Egypt to buy grain, because the famine was severe in all lands." Genesis 41:57
Jesus offers eternal life:
"that the Christ would suffer, that He would be the first to rise from the dead, and would proclaim light to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles.” Acts 26:23
"For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek." Romans 1:16
There are so many other ways that Joseph points us to Jesus, and I hope this blog post inspires you to study his life. The Old Testament often gets neglected because the New Testament seems more relative, but when you study the Old Testament it will give you a greater understanding of Jesus and the power of the Gospel.
The Bible is the story of redemption. It is infallible and true. No matter how hard people try, it has yet to be proven fake. From cover to cover it reveals the sin in man and the grace in God. If you have any questions regarding salvation and the Bible, please don't hesitate to reach out!