Do you have trouble understanding the Bible? Let me give you the golden key to unlock the mystery: all the Bible, every page, is ultimately about one man, one person, Jesus. Once you understand this, what seemed puzzling will start to make sense. The truth of the Bible will dance from its pages into your heart. The Old Testament Scriptures were written long before Jesus ever came to earth in human form, yet they testify about Him (see John 5:39). God wants us to be saved so much that in Genesis He paints a portrait of the Lord Jesus Christ. Genesis’ hidden portrait of Jesus is another confirmation of the Scriptures’ inspiration and His deity. It’s “the Gospel according to Joseph.”
The more I study, the more I stand in awe of the Word of God. Four distinct seasons in the life of Joseph foreshadow and parallel the life of Jesus Christ.
The Beloved Son
Joseph was especially beloved (Genesis 37:1-3).At Jesus’ baptism, God spoke: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17).
Jacob gave Joseph a name which means “abundance.” God gave Jesus a name which means “Jehovah Saves.”
Joseph’s multi-colored coat symbolized the variegated splendors of the Lord Jesus Christ. When Jesus came to this earth, “We beheld His glory…full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).
The Suffering Servant
His father Jacob sent Joseph to his brothers (Genesis 37:12-13). God the Father sent Jesus to us (1 John 4:10).
When his brothers saw Joseph, they scorned him (Genesis 37:4). When the religious leaders saw Jesus, they hated him (John 1:11, 15:25).
Joseph brought his father a truthful report about his brothers, and they hated him (Genesis 37:2). Jesus testified about the world’s condition, and they hated Him (John 7:7).
Joseph’s brothers hated his dream that they would one day bow before him. (37:5-6). Jesus’ Jewish brethren hated Him because He spoke of His coming dominion (Matthew 26:64-66).
Joseph’s brothers said they’d never allow him to rule over them (Genesis 37:8). The world won’t permit Jesus to rule them (Luke 19:14).
Joseph’s brothers conspired against him (Genesis 37:18-20). Jesus’ religious brethren conspired against Him (Matthew 26:3-4).
Joseph suffered abuse (Genesis 37:23-24). Jesus was horribly abused (Matthew 27:26-31).
Joseph suffered betrayal (Genesis 37:26-28). Jesus was betrayed (Matthew 26:14-16).
Joseph’s coat was dipped in blood as proof to Jacob that he was dead (Genesis 37:31-34). Jesus' blood on Calvary was sprinkled on Heaven’s mercy seat before His Father.
The Exalted Sovereign
Joseph endured ignominious shame. But he was lifted up and given a name above every name. By Pharaoh’s decree, all Egypt had to bow before Joseph (Genesis 41:43). Jesus endured the shame of hanging naked on a cross but has been raised on high, given a name above every name. God decrees that the world will bow before Him (Romans 14:11, Philippians 2:9-11, 1 Peter 3:22).
Joseph received a new name meaning “Savior of the world.” Jesus receives a new name in Revelation 19:2.
Joseph is given Pharaoh’s daughter in marriage (Genesis 41:45). Jesus is given the church, the Bride of Christ (Ephesians 5).
The Seeking Savior
Joseph was the only hope of a dying world (Genesis 41:55-57). Jesus is the only hope of our dying world (Acts 4:12).
Joseph revealed himself to his brothers (Genesis 45:1-11). They’d never have known if he hadn’t said, “I’m Joseph.” Jesus reveals Himself to us saying, “I am the Son of God, come to save you.” You’d never know who He is apart from His revealing Himself to you.
Joseph forgave and restored his brothers. He invited them, “Come to me,” and they came (Genesis 45:4-5). Jesus forgives and restores us. He invites us, “Come to Me…and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28-29).
Joseph commissioned his brothers to go and tell (Genesis 45:9). Jesus commissioned us, His brethren to go and tell (Matthew 28:18-20).
Joseph didn’t minimize their sin; he maximized God’s grace (Genesis 50:20). When Jesus died, when Hell was doing its worst, God was doing His best. The cross was earth’s greatest triumph (Colossians 2:15).
Thousands of years before Christ, God painted a portrait of Jesus. He wants you to know Jesus and be saved.
What Joseph said to his brothers, Jesus now says to you: “Come. I’m now at the right hand of the majesty on high. I’ve made provision for you. I want you to come and live with Me forever.”