Joseph: A Picture of Christ



Studying the life of Joseph, we are struck the many similarities between his remarkable life and that of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Very often, in God’s providence, He gives us examples to help understand spiritual truths. In this respect, we may say that Joseph is a type of Christ. By studying his life, we can better understand the life of Jesus.

Like Jesus, Joseph was despised and rejected; he was a man of sorrow and well acquainted with grief. Like Jesus, Joseph was cast away by men, yet exalted by God to become a Prince.

It is interesting to observe that in all the dark times Joseph endured, good things were happening as well. When demons tempted Christ, the angels strengthened him. God always gives a way of escape for His suffering children, 1 Corinthians 10:13. Every single trial endured for Christ will bring about more grace and more blessings from heaven.

1. Joseph was hated by his brothers, but loved by his father, Gen. 37:3, 4

Like Christ, Joseph came to his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet, of note is that while his brothers wanted nothing to do with Joseph, and in fact they despised him, Joseph’s father loved him greatly. And so it was with Jesus. Our heavenly Father was “very pleased” with His Son.

This should be a wonderful consolation to believers. There are times when we may face “persecution” as we live our faith, or we may have to live with the jeers and taunts of family members who don’t understand our faith or devotion of Christ and His Word.

2. He was hated for his words but honored for his vision, Gen. 37:8, 9

Joseph’s words of wisdom and the revelation of his dreams were considered offensive by his brothers. How they hated Joseph! Yet, Joseph shared his visions because they were the very manifestations of God’s will!

Stephen was hated and stoned to death by men; but God opened heaven in a wondrous vision for him.

We as believers might be hated more for our words if we were more like Joseph or Jesus, faithfully proclaiming the truth of the Gospel as revealed to us by the Holy Spirit.

If the Word is not proclaimed then the visions will cease and that which we have learned will become stale and formal.

3. Joseph was cast into a dark pit, Gen. 37:24

The teaching of the Bible is very clear, especially in the case of Job. The ungodly, even Satan himself, can have no power over us except it be given them by God the Father. The fire could not touch Daniel and his friends in the furnace, because their task was not yet completed for the Lord.

Paul and Silas were thrown into a prison, but there was nothing that could take the joy from their hearts or come between them and their fellowship with God. As they praised God, the prison released them.

Christ was cast into the pit of death, but He triumphed over death, hell and the grave. There is nothing to fear.

4. Joseph was sold as a slave, but he late prospered, Gen. 37:28; 39:2

Like Jesus, Joseph became of “no reputation,” becoming a slave. But he would become a prince; a prosperous man. The man who does the will of God always prospers. John 17:4 says,

I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do.

Sold for 30 pieces of silver, yet of incalculable worth, our Lord did all that He was to do. So it is with us, it doesn’t matter what value the world may put on the servant of God or upon their work, whoever works for God will prosper because he pleases God.

5. Joseph was falsely accused, yet the Lord was with him, Gen. 39:7—23

Many unrighteous and blasphemous charges were brought against Jesus Christ. The pure in heart will not only see God, but often they suffer for His sake. If your heart is right and you pursue God with your whole heart, at some point, you will be challenged. Matthew 5:11—12 says,

Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

6. Joseph was neglected by the butler, yet remembered by his master,

Joseph was forgotten by his cell mate, but the Lord remembered him. Paul wrote to the Romans,

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.—8:28

You don’t have to be discouraged, even when it seems like those you may have helped have forgotten you. No good deed goes unnoticed by God! The Lord knows where His faithful ones are. The Lord needs no letters of commendation!

As co-laborers for Christ, let us all be faithful wherever we are, even if it seems as though you in dark, damp, forgotten dungeon. The true servant of God is always prepared for the pit or the pinnacle. Let us, In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.


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