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?

Joseph Makes Himself Known, Genesis 45

Then Joseph could no longer control himself before all his attendants, and he cried out, ‘Have everyone leave my presence!’ So there was no one with Joseph when he made himself known to his brothers. And he wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard him, and Pharaoh’s household heard about it. . . . ‘I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will not be plowing and reaping. But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.’”        -Genesis 45:1-2, 4-7

While chapters 43 and 44 depict Joseph’s tender love and tough love respectively, chapter 45 display Joseph living out of God’s sovereignty.

You may read Genesis 45 here: Bible Gateway.

This account of Joseph meeting up with his brothers finally comes to a resolution when Joseph reveals his identity. Layman’s Bible Commentary notes: “The response of the brothers to Joseph’s revelation of his identity is a term translated dismayed or dumbfounded. This is a term used of paralyzing fear as felt by those involved in war (Exodus 15:15; Judges 20:41; 1 Samuel 28:21; Psalm 48:5).”

Joseph’s emotional display of weeping, embracing, and explaining finally convinces his brothers that he doesn’t intend revenge, but is actually favorable toward them.

Reflect 7b08064b7f5b6c0a895595c9de822b30

How in the world could Joseph forgive his brothers?

After all, they had rejected him, sold him into slavery, and made it possible for Joseph’s 12-13 year stretch of being imprisoned during young adulthood, (from the age of 17 to 30). The natural response to that kind of treatment is bitterness and revenge.

But not Joseph.

His ability to discern God’s providence over events and keeping an eternal perspective mark his life. He also lays the ground work of forgiveness by seeking God’s heart. Joseph’s graciousness, not only in forgiveness, but also in sharing his prosperity, reflect God’s forgiveness and blessing to those who ask.

Is there anyone God wants you to forgive and seek restitution?

One last thought. Joseph’s father, Jacob, was stunned to learn that Joseph was still alive.

Good news is hard to believe when going through difficulties. But God’s ultimate plan for his children is a future filled with joy and blessings. Have a great weekend!

How To Use God Given Power, Genesis 42

If God gave you a responsibility, what would you do with it? What is the best way to honor God with the power He gave you? As we look in Genesis 42, we see the right way to use authority as Joseph faces his brothers for the first time since they sold him to slavery.

via How To Use God Given Power? — Call to Witness

Out of the Ashes

I don’t know my age, but I remember my kidnapper. “I’ll help you find your family,” he said in a soothing voice. That was the last morning I’d seen my Mother and Father. He told me I belonged to him now as his laborer. This was the beginning of my nightmare. Repeated rapes followed. I hated him. And because my body brought bad luck, I also hated myself. He “trained” me to become a sex slave while annihilating my innocence. Then, like a commodity, he sold me to a brothel.

The polluted stream of drunken men, handling me like a cheap toy, is a memory I’d love to bury. “Whore!” they’d scoff before discarding me in the ash pile. When I refused to cooperate, the brothel owner punished me with beatings, electrocution, and starvation.

No more,” I yelled, “let me die!” Darkness, steeped in vinegar, clung to me. Death’s finality taunted me like a mirage. If the grave meant freedom from this rotting prison, then I’d find a way. But something miraculous happened instead.

I’ll never forget the loud hammering on my shanty’s lock. Nor will I forget the face of my hero; he risked his life for mine. Praise God! I’ve been rescued! God not only raised me from the ash pile, but He also placed me in a new family.

My new name is Agraciana, which means “forgiveness.” Dignity greets me on her royal road.  Peace is finally mine. I refuse to step foot on selfishness and deceit’s low road. Nor will I adorn my head with weighted lies: raped women are scum below men’s feet.

My new passion is to rescue, restore, and educate similar young girls at the shelter where I work in Cambodia. There is nothing as beautiful as a little girl’s innocence: her ability to love, laugh and play. My shelter seeks to restore some of these girls’ childhood; love empowers.

Consider the following facts: brothel owners force 10-30 clients upon these girls daily, for the owner’s selfish bounty. Much of the outside world either turns away or isn’t aware of the frequency and enormity of sex trafficking. Families seldom come forward when their child is abducted for fear of retaliation.

Men have gotten away with this injustice for years. They think it’s noble to take away a girl’s virginity. Even local authorities won’t aid in rescuing if military personnel capture these girls. Most perpetrators are drunk, thoughtlessly spreading sexual diseases. When a girl becomes pregnant, her baby is aborted.

Please pray that these girls will overcome their trauma. Some are only infants when stolen and/or sold into brothels, some by their own parents. One of my dying girls asked, “Agraciana, when you speak, will you tell men: ‘A few moments of your pleasure kills me?’”

Please pray for the project workers and those who seek justice. Pray that our culture will turn from this evil. Pray for the offenders, for they will answer to Almighty God. Finally, pray how God might use you to help in this work. One person can’t do everything, but one can do something. Together, God can move mountains through us. With funding, my shelter can rescue, restore, and educate these precious girls. Like me, they’ll educate others and effect change. For these girls, I stand tall.

*This story is fictitious as told from Agraciana’s point of view; however, the circumstantial happenings are not. I gathered most of my information from the documentary, Half the Sky. Sex trafficking is a horrible reality in many places of the world.

Want to help and make the most impact in a situation like this? What if one hundred percent (100%) of your donation went directly to those in need? Wellspring International is an arm of Ravi Zacharais International Ministries. Ravi is a well known International speaker and defender of the Christian Faith. Administered by Ravi’s daughter Naomi Zacharais, Wellspring covers their own expenses, investigates all requests for funds thoroughly, often going to the location. They do the research so you can be confident that your money goes where you want it to. One Hundred Percent (100%) of your money goes to help women and children in crisis. Here is Wellspring’s website:  http://www.wellspringinternational.org

These two videos, (not connected to Wellspring), help put our hearts in the right place:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K0L7NH48BWE
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0njTvTpOBSA

Bad News, Good News

Care to join me for a steaming latte? It’s 12 degrees fahrenheit in my neck of the woods. Brrr. Reason enough to enjoy the crackling fire with a hot drink within reach.

As I mentioned in my earlier post, God’s first call in our lives deals with salvation. In fact, most of the Bible centers around John 3:16 (NIV), “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

The word salvation appears 164 times in the Bible. According to Strong’s Concordance, salvation is “mattâth” in Hebrew and Aramaic, which means “a present: ― gift; reward.” The Greek translation “soteria” means “rescue or safety.”

Salvation can be summarized as follows: deliverance from the power or penalty of sin.

Whose sin? Both yours and mine. We’ve all done wrong things and failed to obey God’s laws (Romans 3:23; 5:12).

The result? Separation from holy God, our Creator. This separation―the penalty of our sin―is eternal death (Romans 6:23; Revelation 20:10-15). Our best efforts–moralism–fall short in our attempts to unite with God (Isaiah 64:6). That’s the bad news.

The good news: Jesus–God’s unique Son–never sinned (Hebrews 5:9). He alone bridged the gap between sinless God and sinful mankind when He freely died on the cross (1 Timothy 2:5-6; 1 John 5:9-12). He took our place in order to save us from sin’s consequences―including God’s judgment and death (2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:24; Romans 5:8-11).

The result? We can have new life because Jesus took our past, present, and future sins upon Himself, forgiving all our wrongdoing (Hebrews 10:5-18). Thus, He reconciles us to God (1 Peter 3:18; Hebrews 10:19-22). Jesus’ resurrection from the dead is the proof that His substitutionary sacrifice on the cross was acceptable to God. His resurrection has become the source of new life for whoever believes Jesus is the Son of God (John 11:25; Romans 10:9). He grants eternal life, giving union with God to those who believe and receive Him (Ephesians 2:4-7; John 1:12).

Do you believe Jesus is God’s Son? If so, have you confessed your sins to Him and asked Him for the gift of eternal life and forgiveness?

*This article is also posted in the Gospel Blog by FEBC at http://bit.ly/17RG5UK.