A Sermon on Joseph (Part Four: The Symbol)

by Glenn on August 23, 2015

John 5:39 says,

“You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me …” [NIV]

This statement is amazing. The only Scriptures Jesus could have been referring to were the Hebrew scriptures—what Christians usually refer to as The Old Testament. Jesus’ statement is that those scriptures talk about him.

As you read through the Hebrew Scriptures, you discover that events that happened in history are both making future events possible, but they are also pointing to those future events. Because Joseph saves his family, another savior can come.

For the conclusion of this message, I asked some questions:

Can you think of someone else who was sent by his father to look for people who weren’t looking for him?

Can you think of someone else who, though innocent, was betrayed and sold for pieces of silver?

Can you think of someone else who went down, not to Egypt, but to the grave?

Can you think of someone else who suffered deeply but because of those sufferings made it possible for the world to be saved?

Can you think of someone else who forgives the very people who sinned against him?

For me, the story of Joseph is also the story of Jesus. Those who came to Joseph were given bread to survive the famine. Those who come to Jesus are given life to survive death.


Joseph’s story is a great one. It has all the elements: crime, betrayal, a dramatic conclusion. But this story reminds us that God is good. And it reminds us of the good news that Jesus came. As Timothy Keller puts is so well,

“Jesus is the true and better Joseph who, at the right hand of the king, forgives those who betrayed and sold him and uses his new power to save them.”