Joseph As A Figure of Christ

August 9th, 2011

The message last night was on Joseph.  In particular, the message was on self-control and the life of Joseph was used as an example.

Some people would debate whether Joseph is a “type” of Christ so we will use the term “figure” instead because there are definitely shadows and allusions to Christ in Joseph’s life, I believe.

Joseph was rejected by his brothers, similar to Jesus.  He was repeatedly humbled, but in the end went from lowest in the kingdom (sent to prison after being falsely accused as a criminal) to the 2nd highest in the kingdom, second only to Pharaoh. 

Jesus too was repeatedly humbled and went from the lowest in the kingdom (crucified after being falsely accused as a criminal) to the 2nd highest in the kingdom, second only to God the Father.

Remember when Joseph was in prison and interpreted the dreams of the baker and cupbearer?  Joseph gave interpretations of their dreams: after 3 days the cupbearer would be reinstated to his royal position while the baker would be hung.  Joseph requested they “remember him” after these things came to pass. 

Now this isn’t prophecy by any means, but I believe there is a distinct “shadow” or “allusion” in the story of the cupbearer and baker to the future ordinance of communion given by Jesus.  At the last supper Jesus took the bread and cup and similar to how Jesus body was broken (and how he broke the bread), the baker was the one who was hung.  Even the hanging is interesting because Jesus too was hung on a tree.

Also similar is how during the meal of the Last Supper Jesus requested that in the future they do this in remembrance of Him.  Remember how Joseph asked the cupbearer to remember him when he was reinstated to the palace? There is an obvious correlation to the three days as well. Oh, here’s another thing: both Jesus and Joseph were given a gentile bride.

Joseph’s attitude of forgiveness and compassion towards his brothers who betrayed him was similar to Jesus attitude.  Hanging on the cross Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34)

At the end of the story of Joseph, Joseph reassures his brothers of his goodwill:

“’You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.’ And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.” Genesis 50:20)

God used the crucible of Joseph’s life for the eventual “saving of many lives.”  This purpose in Joseph’s life is quite similar to the mission of Jesus’s life: 

"This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many…(Mark 14:24)

“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. (Mark 10:43-45)

I take from all these observations that a common model for being used by God includes being humbled extremely low, falsely accused, and having to undergo much pain.  This is followed by a lifting up of to a position of power for the purpose and benefit of the saving of many lives.

What do you think?

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