The other night before bed, I was thinking about how much Joseph and Jesus had in common.
I thought about how Joseph’s brothers threw him into that pit and left him there to die. But then Joseph was raised up out of that pit and brought into Egypt to eventually become a respected official.
Several years down the road, when he finally met his brothers again, he said to them: “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.” (Gn 50:20)
I could clearly see Jesus in Joseph’s story:
1. Joseph was favored by his father (Gn 37:3); Jesus is favored by the Father.
2. In the same way that Joseph told his family the truth about himself by relating his prophetic dreams (Gn 37:5-9), Jesus also came bringing good news and proclaiming his true identity to His family, the Jews.
3. They were both stricken, alienated from their homes, and brought into the lowest places of servitude. Joseph was sold into slavery in Egypt (Gn 37:28); Jesus came down from heaven to earth (and eventually going down into the very depths of hell) to be the servant of all men.
4. In each case, after their families led them out to be left for dead, they “rose” again for the benefit of all men: Joseph was sold into slavery but eventually became one of the most trusted officials in the Pharaoh’s palace. He saved many people of Egypt from starvation in midst of famines (Gn 39:1-5). Jesus was led away to be flogged and crucified, but now sits at the right hand of the Father and has been glorified. And He’s still saving people from all corners of the earth to this very day.
What Joseph’s brothers meant for harm, God meant for good. Not just Joseph’s good, but the good of many people. What the Jews meant for harm, God meant for good. And not just for Jesus’ good, but for the good of all people. Joseph saved lives from natural starvation and hunger. Jesus saves lives from natural AND spiritual starvation and hunger.
Unless a seed falls down to the ground and dies…
The reality is, we’re now living inside a New Covenant with the Lord. One more perfect than the Old Covenant Joseph was living in. But when we look the Old Testament, we still see that narratives point to one Man: Jesus the Christ.
Joseph’s life was recorded for us as an example of the way Jesus would come proclaiming the Kingdom, and bringing many sons into His glory. As with everything in the Old Testament, his life was a shadow of the reality to come.
I just love it when an old familiar bible story like this suddenly comes to life and reveals Jesus in a way I had never noticed before.