The Gospel, Part 8
It’s surprisingly hard to move through too many pages of Scripture before finding more threads of the gospel message. Today we’re once again in Genesis, looking at the shadow of Christ in the account of Joseph.
Jacob had 12 sons, one of which was Joseph, and through these twelve came the 12 tribes of Israel by which God carried the Abrahamic covenant forward through time. In fact, in Gen 32:28 we read that God renamed Jacob to Israel. The story of Joseph spans an astonishing 13 chapters of the Bible, so today we’ll just focus on a couple themes from his life.
After being betrayed by his brothers, Joseph was sold as a slave in Egypt (Gen 37:12-35) and through God’s grace and sovereignty became a leader in Pharaoh’s kingdom (Gen 41:37-45). God granted Joseph with many divine gifts including the ability to interpret dreams and incredible wisdom in planning and preparing for a coming famine, which God revealed to Pharaoh in a dream Joseph interpreted (Gen 40-41).
Seven years of abundant harvest was followed by a seven-year global famine (Gen 41:53-57). It was a hopeless situation, but because God had given Pharaoh the warning and through its interpretation allowed Joseph to be in charge of storing up food during the seasons of plenty, Egypt was the only place that people were eating.
As the story continues, Joseph’s brothers, the very ones who sold him into slavery, came to Egypt in search of food. In a tense and dramatic series of exchanges, Joseph revealed himself to his brothers and was able to reconcile, forgive, and provide his family with more than enough food and resources to sustain them through the famine and beyond.
While the story of Joseph is worthy of a lengthy expository study, let’s get to the heart of the gospel foreshadow found in this passage:
Joseph was specifically chosen by God and placed in a position to save his family (Gen 39:2, 41:39-41). God brought salvation to Jacob/Israel’s family through Joseph’s life of obedience and betrayal. In the same way, God brings us salvation through Christ’s life of obedience and betrayal. While Joseph provided only temporary salvation to his family, Christ provides eternal salvation to His.
“The people of all the earth came to Egypt to buy grain from Joseph, because the famine was severe in all the earth,” (Gen 41:57).
Through Joseph not only was Egypt blessed, but also the whole world. In the same way, as God honored His covenant with Abraham through Jacob and his son Joseph, the promise carried on through the gospel to the whole world through the death and resurrection of His Jesus. While many people were saved from death for a little while through Joseph, many more are saved from eternal death through Christ.
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst,” (John 6:35).
Finally, while the food Joseph was able to offer preserved life for a little while, our eternal life is preserved by the bread of life, which is provided only by our Lord and Savior. No famine on earth can ever take this away from those who have put their hope and faith in Christ!