Today we close out the book of Genesis. Throughout this week we have seen this dominant theme that will prevail throughout the rest of the Bible: we have a God that fulfills his promises.
The people in Genesis, quite frankly, are a hot mess. Adam and Eve had one job and failed. Abraham fathered a child with his servant Hagar when he was promised one with his wife Sarah.
Jacob steals his brother’s birthright, and accidentally marries Leah.
Joseph’s siblings sell him into slavery.
They’re a mess. All of them. It’s the stuff soap operas are made of. But despite these failures and shortcomings, God is faithful to his plan of redemption. And we see this in the genealogy of Jesus.
Despite their failure, the genealogy addressed in Genesis of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob & Joseph paves the way for Jesus. From the very beginning of the story, this thread of God’s redemption is evident.
Genesis closes as the life of Joseph comes to an end, and the parallels we see between the lives of Joseph and Jesus are astounding (source):
- Joseph was his father’s favorite, even as Jesus would be his Father’s favorite: Genesis 37:3, Matthew 3:17
- Joseph was a shepherd, even as Jesus would be the good shepherd: Genesis 37:2, John 10:11, 27
- Joseph was hated and envied by his brothers, even as Jesus would be hated and envied by his brothers: Genesis 37:4, Matthew 27:17-18
- Joseph’s brothers plotted to kill him, even as Jesus’ brothers would plot to kill him: Genesis 37:20, John 11:53
- Joseph was tempted and resisted, even as Jesus would be tempted and resisted: Genesis 39:7-8, Matthew 4:1
- Joseph was stripped of his robe, even as Jesus would be stripped of his clothes: Genesis 37:23, John 19:23
- Joseph’s life was sold for silver, even as Jesus’ life would be sold for silver: Genesis 37:38, Matthew 26:15
- Joseph was falsely accused, even as Jesus would be falsely accused: Genesis 39:12-20, Matthew 26:59-60
- Joseph was with two other convicts, one who would be saved, and one who would be lost. Jesus was on the cross with two other convicts, one who would be saved, and one who would be lost: Genesis 40:2-3, Luke 23:32
- Joseph was 30 years old when he entered the service of Pharoah king of Egypt, even as Jesus would be 30 years old when he entered the service of the King of kings: Genesis 41:46, Luke 3:23
- Joseph was exalted after his suffering, even as Jesus would be exalted after his suffering: Genesis 41:41-43, Philippians 2:9-11
- Joseph forgave those who wronged him, even as Jesus would forgive those who wronged him: Genesis 45:1-15, Luke 23:34
- Joseph saved the nation of Egypt, and other nations, even as Jesus would save his people, and the nations of the world: Genesis 45:7, John 3:16-17
- What men did to harm Joseph, God used to save people, even as what men did to harm Jesus, God would use to save people: Genesis 50:20, 1 Corinthians 2:7-8
Even in the lives of His people, God foreshadows his plan for a savior. One of the principles of good hermeneutics—or the study of scripture—is that scripture cannot mean to us something it did not mean to the people it was written to.
The exception to this rule is the Thread of Jesus.
Moses (the writer of Genesis) did not know Jesus, nor did he know the circumstances of his life. Yet the parallels between Jesus and Joseph are eerily similar. This is evidence that the Holy Spirit is working throughout the writing of the Bible. Its writers were speaking on something they didn’t fully understand to a God they didn’t yet fully know.
And the result of that is this coherent thread that runs through scripture.