Summary: Joseph, the redeemer, foreshadows the life of Jesus, the redeemer of all.
The Rejected Ruler
A few weeks ago I said that Christ is the center of history. All of history focuses around the Savior of the world. And all of the Bible focuses around the Savior of the World. We often mistakenly think that only the New Testament tells us about Christ. But as we have already seen in the stories of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Jesus is all over the pages of the Old Testament as well. And one of the most amazing stories that reveals the coming Christ to us is the story of Joseph.
Now I will have to admit there is no verses in the New Testament comparing the story of Jesus to the story of Joseph. But once you open your eyes to finding Jesus in the Old Testament, it is hard to miss the fact that Jesus’ life is foreshadowed in the life of Joseph. Which is not hard to believe since the name Joseph is Hebrew for Jesus.
Joseph, as we shall see, is a deliverer for his family, as Jesus is the deliverer for all mankind. And as I studied the life of Joseph in preparation for this message I was amazed at how Joseph’s life predicted the life and ministry of Christ.
I. Destined for Greatness.
First, Joseph was a man who was destined for greatness. If you remember from last week, Jacob had two wives—Racheal and Leah. Racheal was Jacob’s favorite, but she was unable to have children for many years. But God finally blessed Racheal with a baby boy, Joseph. Because Joseph was the first born of his favorite wife, Joseph quickly became Jacob’s favorite son. And Jacob made no secret to this fact.
Genesis 37:2-4 (NLT)
This is the account of Jacob and his family. When Joseph was seventeen years old, he often tended his father’s flocks. He worked for his half-brothers, the sons of his father’s wives Bilhah and Zilpah. But Joseph reported to his father some of the bad things his brothers were doing.
Jacob loved Joseph more than any of his other children because Joseph had been born to him in his old age. So one day Jacob had a special gift made for Joseph—a beautiful robe. But his brothers hated Joseph because their father loved him more than the rest of them. They couldn’t say a kind word to him.
Joseph was the younger, favorite, who received special gifts, and tattled on his brothers to earn his father’s favor. That was probably reason enough for Joseph’s brothers to hate him, but that isn’t the only reason that his brothers hated Joseph.
Genesis 37:5-8 (NLT)
One night Joseph had a dream, and when he told his brothers about it, they hated him more than ever. “Listen to this dream,” he said. “We were out in the field, tying up bundles of grain. Suddenly my bundle stood up, and your bundles all gathered around and bowed low before mine!”
His brothers responded, “So you think you will be our king, do you? Do you actually think you will reign over us?” And they hated him all the more because of his dreams and the way he talked about them.
Joseph proclaimed that he would one day rule over his own family. And his family didn’t like that idea very much. They hated him because of the predictions that he was destined for greatness.
Jesus was also hated because of the predictions that he was destined for greatness. At His birth, the wise men proclaimed that Jesus was to be the King of the Jews. That sparked such hatred from Herod that he ordered his soldiers to go to Bethlehem and kill all the children two years old and younger in an effort to destroy this future king before he had a chance to rise to greatness.
At another point Jesus was visiting a synagogue and read a well-known prophecy about the Messiah found in Isaiah chapter 61 that says:
Luke 4:18-19 (NLT)
The Spirit of the LORD is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the LORD’s favor has come.
Then Jesus said of Himself:
Luke 4:21 (NLT)
The Scripture you’ve just heard has been fulfilled this very day!
Jesus, like Joseph, boldly proclaimed that He was destined for greatness. He was the Messiah that they had all been waiting for. He was the one come to set them free from slavery to sin and death. And how did the people respond to this bold statement? They drug Jesus to the edge of a cliff and tried to throw Him to his death. And ultimately they killed Jesus for claiming to be the Son of God.