“Joseph was the instrument God used to dispense bread to the world in time of famine. Likewise Jesus is the “Bread of Life” who dispenses the True bread for the life of people from every tribe, tongue, people and nation (John 6:35, Rev. 5:9).”
The Bible is literature. It contains various parts of speech such as nouns, verbs, adjective, adverbs, prepositions, pronouns, conjunctions, and participles. The Bible also contains various figures of speech such direct comparison, metaphors, and indirect comparisons, similes. Another example of a figure of speech is known as typology or a type.
Typology, (Gk. typos, ‘seal-impression’), is a way of setting forth the biblical history of salvation so that some of its earlier persons or phases are seen as anticipations of later persons or phases. In other words, an Old Testament person, place, or thing correspondingly foreshadows, or prefigures, a later and greater fulfillment found in the New Testament.
While there are many Old Testament examples of typology, Joseph is a prime example from the Book of Genesis. Joseph prefigures in several ways the New Testament fulfillment of the person and work of Jesus Christ.
To begin with, Joseph was a shepherd (Gen. 37:1-2. This prefigures Jesus’ identity and work as the Good Shepherd (John 10:11, 27-29). Joseph’s father, Jacob, dearly loved him (Gen. 37:3). God the Father dearly loved God the Son and called Him His beloved Son (Matt. 3:17; Eph. 1:6). Joseph’s brother hated him (Gen. 37:4). So it was that the Jewish people, and Jesus’ own siblings, did not receive and believe in Him (John 1:9-11; 7:1-4).
Additionally, Joseph’s father, Jacob, sent him to his brothers (Gen. 37:13-14). God the Father sent Jesus, God the Son, to His brothers (Heb. 2:10-18). Joseph’s brother plotted to harm him (Gen. 37:20). The Jews plotted to kill Jesus (John 11:45-53; 13:1-11). Joseph’s brother stripped him of his robe, or tunic (Gen. 37:23. The Romans stripped Jesus of His robe (John 19:23-24).
The Midian traders took Joseph to Egypt (37:26). Mary and Joseph took Jesus to Egypt (Matt. 2:14-15; Hosea 11:1). Joseph’s brother sold him to the Midianites for the price of a slave (Gen. 37:28). Judas agreed to betray Jesus for the price of a slave (Matt. 26:14-16). Joseph endured temptation (Gen. 39:1-7). Jesus endured temptation (Matt. 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-13).
Joseph encountered false accusations (Gen. 39:16-18). Jesus encountered the same (Matt. 26:59-60). Joseph experienced arrest and chains (Gen. 39:20). Jesus experienced the same (Matt. 27:1-2). Joseph was in prison with two other prisoners (Gen. 40:1-3). The Romans crucified Jesus with two other prisoners (Luke 23:32).
Joseph experienced the joy of being exalted following his suffering (Gen. 41:41). So too did Jesus (Phil. 2:9-11). Both Joseph and Jesus were thirty years old at the beginning of their public ministry (Gen. 41:46; Luke 3:23). It is recorded that both of them wept (Gen. 42:24; 45:1-2, 14, 15; 46:29; John 11:35).
Both Joseph and Jesus forgave those who wronged them (Gen. 45:1-15; Luke 23:34). They both saved the nation of Israel: Joseph physically (Gen. 45:7), and Jesus spiritually (Matt. 1:21). Finally, what men did to hurt them, God the Father turned to good (Gen. 50:20; I Cor. 2:7-8).
“One day God would send another Prince, a young Prince whose heart would break. Like Joseph, he would leave his home and his Father. His brothers would hate him and want him dead. He would be sold for pieces of silver. He would be punished even though he had done nothing wrong. But God would use everything that happened to this young Prince – even the bad things – to do something good: to forgive the sins of the whole world.” – Sally Lloyd-Jones, the Jesus Story Book Bible
Soli deo Gloria!