Parallels Between Joseph and Jesus

The New Testament is in the Old concealed; the Old Testament is in the New revealed.” -Augustine

The Old Testament points to Jesus Christ through foreshadows of situations and actions of several people. Joseph is one of those people. I imagine that Joseph and Jesus’ conversations go way beyond small talk. After all, they shared many similar heartfelt experiences.

Here are some of the parallels between Joseph and Jesus:

  • Both men were greatly loved by their fathers (Genesis 37:3; Matthew 3:17).
  • As shepherds, they both took care of their father’s sheep (Genesis 37:2; John 10:11, 27).
  • Both Joseph and Jesus were sent to their brothers by their father (Genesis 37:13, 14; Hebrews 2:11).
  • Both men were ridiculed and rejected by their brothers (Genesis 37:4, 19-20; John 1:11; 7:5).
  • Both were sold for the price of a slave (Genesis 37:28; Matthew 26:15).
  • Both were taken to Egypt (Genesis 37:25; Matthew 2:14, 15).
  • Both were falsely accused and condemned (Genesis 39:13-20; Matthew 26:57-68; 27:11-25). Both were placed with two other prisoners; one was saved and the other lost (Genesis 40:2, 3; Luke 23:32).
  • Both were bound in chains (Genesis 39:20; Matthew 27:2).
  • Both men were 30 years old at the beginning of public recognition (Genesis 41:46; Luke 3:23) and were exemplary servants (Genesis 39:1-6; Philippians 2:7).
  • Both were tempted. While both Joseph and Jesus didn’t give into the temptation (Genesis 39:7-12; Matthew 4:1); Jesus also never sinned (Hebrews 4:15).
  • Both were stripped of their robes (Genesis 37:23; Matthew 27:27-28). Joseph was thrown into a pit (37:24) and later cast into a dungeon (Genesis 39:20). Jesus was condemned to death before descending to hell (John 19:23; 1 Peter 3:18-20).
  • Both forgave those who wronged them (Genesis 45:1-15; Luke 23:34).
  • While men plotted evil against them (Genesis 37:20; John 11:53), God used it for good (Genesis 50:20; 1 Corinthians 2:7-9).
  • Both saved not only their people, but also many others (Genesis 45:7; 50:20; Matthew 1:21; Luke 24; 1 Corinthians 15:1-11).
  • Because Joseph’s actions helped the nations of the world survive the famine (Genesis 41:57), God partially fulfilled his promise to Abraham to bless all nations (Genesis 12:1-3). God completely fulfilled his promise to Abraham when Christ died for everyone’s sin and commanded to “make disciples of all nations. . . .” (Matthew 28:19).

Reflect

Like Christ, Joseph endured rejection and persecution. Yet—like Christ—he forgave. Joseph and Jesus not only became a blessing to those around them, but were also a blessing to those who hurt them. How can we apply this principle to our lives?

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