||01 Genesis - 2009
||Joseph Looks A Lot Like Jesus
One of our pastors on staff, Ken Riley was visiting his dad in Las Vegas this week and he sent me a picture of his dad sitting on an old Harley Davidson. I showed it to my wife and my son because they had to do a double take when they saw Kenny's dad, it looked--well, in the small picture, it look just like Kenny. Because it was the same cut of features and face and style of hair, but of course, older than Kenny. I'm not saying Kenny looks as old as his dad but I knew I was looking at Ken Riley thirty years from now. He just resembles so much his pops.
Now, this week I was with my son out at a golf course just shooting a bucket of balls and somebody next to me on that driving range said to me, "Todd? Todd, is that you?" Well, and it wasn't Todd, it was me. So I looked up and I said, "No, I'm sorry, I'm not Todd." He goes, "Oh, you look like Todd," whoever Todd was or is. But you've all have that happened were somebody said you look like or you remind me of someone, somebody else or I mistook you for somebody else. That is the impression we get as we move into Chapter 37 all the way through Chapter 50 as we're reading the story of Joseph. He reminds us of somebody else and it's not Abraham and it's not Isaac and it's not his dad Jacob. When we read about Joseph, he reminds us of Jesus. Very, very similar to Christ as all point out a few of those things in just a moment.
In Chapter 37, we are moving into the final division of the book of Genesis. The next fourteen chapters, including this one, is that final division and the central focus of attention is on one person and that one person is Joseph. It's quite remarkable that 14 chapters of the first book of the Bible are devoted to one single unique personality. Think about it this way. There is more space devoted to Joseph than there is to Abraham, than there is to Jacob, than there is to Isaac or any other person that we find, 14 chapters.
If you were to compare these 14 chapters with the first 11 chapters and if you remember Genesis 1-11, they're significant chapters, they're chapter of origin we would call them. The story of creation, the story of the fall of men, the stories of Noah and his family, the story of the great world wide flood, the post-diluvian era, the table of nations in chapter 10, the tower of Babel in chapter 11. All of those incredible stories put together don't even match the real state given to one single person.
Now, what is Joseph like? In a word, I'll give you one word. He's different. And I know the saying, like father like son, but in this case, it didn't work. Because as you look at Joseph, he is almost flawless. Did you know that there is one bad, evil, malicious, wrong thing said of Joseph in all of the Bible. As a human being, he's nearly flawless. He is different from his dad. He is what the Bible would call pure in heart. Not like dad who was manipulative and conniving of heart, Joseph was pure of heart. Many commentator, researchers in looking at the life of Joseph have come up with many ways in which Joseph is like Jesus. Some accounted over a hundred different ways. Time prevents us from doing that tonight. Others have counted 50. Time prevents us from doing that tonight.
But I want to show you a few ways in which Jesus Christ in Chapter 37 and out of Chapter 37 is like Christ. Now, we have been for 27 weeks going through the book of Genesis. 27 weeks. This is, I think, week 28 or something like that. And we have gone in depth. This is not the Bible from 30,000 feet, this is the Bible from three feet. We're driving through Genesis and taking frequent stops and side trips to see what's down the alleys. But now that we come to Chapter 37 and now that it is communion night, and we'd like to do this once a month. I thought it was more appropriate to give you more of a devotional and a summary of Joseph's life rather than a verse-by-verse through the entire chapter, Chapter 37, so that next time, we can go through it in our normal way and from a different angle.
Well, let me give you a few ways in which Joseph looks a lot like Jesus. Number one, Joseph was uniquely loved by his father. That's the first thing we learn about him when his story unfolds in Chapter 37. Now, Jacob dwelt in the land where his father was a strange, in the land of Canaan. This is the history of Jacob. Joseph being 17 years old was feeding the flock with his brothers. And the lad was with the sons of Bilha and the sons of Zilpah, his father's wives, and Joseph brought a bad report of them to his father. Now, Israel loved Joseph more than all his children because he was the son of his old age and he made him a tunic of many colors.
So the first thing we're told about the relationship between dad and son is the unique love that his father had for his son. He made him a tunic, a tunic of many colors was thought to be a coat or a distinguishing piece of garment that honored him or gave him authority. When Jesus first arrives on the scene at the Jordan River to be baptized by John the Baptist, a voice comes from heaven, from the father. Remember what it said? "This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased." And if indeed this tunic was a symbol of authority. Well, again, that reminds us of Jesus who in Matthew 28 said, "All authority is given to me in heaven and on earth." Some, and I'm not quit sure I didn't do enough digging in the sources, but some believe that the translation of this tunic of many colors could be best rendered seamless rather that variegated or many colors, seamless. And when I read that, I thought exactly of what John said when Jesus was crucified and they were auctioning off or throwing dice gambling for his robe, his tunic, which was called a robe without seems sown from top to bottom in one piece. At any rate, that's the first mark. Joseph was uniquely loved by his father.
Here's the second way Joseph looks lie Jesus. Joseph was maliciously hated by his bothers. That follows with this unique love in Chapter 37, again, verse four. But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not speak peaceably to him. He was hated and the hatred grows through the chapter until the inevitable happens as he is sold into slavery and a lie goes back to his dad about how he was killed out in the filed. Well, that also, is a lot like Jesus. He was hated. He came into his own. His own did not receive him.
The Bible says when Jesus would speak, that the common people heard him gladly. They loved hearing him. He made sense to them. He was so different than the normal religious leaders who spoke in sanctuary tones, in very condemning manner. Jesus was a breath of fresh air. Because they saw that the common people were hearing Jesus gladly, that fomented a sort of envy and jealousy from the religious leaders toward Jesus and that grew and that grew and that grew until when Jesus stands before the Sanhedrin at his trial, they have to bring in false witnesses, to make up things about him, lies about him. And when Barabas was offered to the crowed so that Jesus could be let go, they said about Jesus, "Crucify him! Crucify him!" He was hated. So uniquely loved by his father, Joseph was maliciously hated by his brother.
Number three. He was unjustly sold for twenty pieces of silver. Joseph was. If you go over to verse 28:37. We'll begin a few verse back verse 26. So Judah said to his brothers, "What profit is there if we kill our brother and conceal his blood? Come let us sell him to the Ishmeelites and let not our hand be upon him for he is our brother and our flesh." Like they're being nice. And his brothers listened. Then the Midianite traders passed by, so the brothers pulled Joseph up, lifted him out of the pit and sold him to the Ishmeelites for 20 shackles of silver and they took Joseph to Egypt.
When Jesus was on the earth, there were lots of people around him. As his ministry of three and a half years went on and on, he was very controversial. But nonetheless, he commanded great crowds of people who are very interested in him as we have seen on Sunday morning in John Chapter 6, because of His miracles. But though even surrounded by lots of people, the closest to him were his disciples. Just like for Joseph, the closes to him were his own brothers. There were 12 of these boys, 13 if you count Benjamin. So imagine having 12 brothers around you. Jesus had twelve of his brothers, his disciples around him. Those closest to him, many times didn't understand and one of those who were closest to him, Judas, sold Jesus into the hands of the Romans for 30 pieces of silver. It's very similar. This is 20 shackles. With Jesus it says 30 pieces. Uniquely loved by his father, hated by his brothers, sold for 20 pieces of silver.
Number four. He was accused, falsely accused for crimes he did not commit. Joseph didn't do what he was accused of. As we go on later on in our story, Chapter 39, he's taken to Egypt, he's in Potiphar's house, and I'm fast forwarding the story. He becomes one of the servants of Mr. Potiphar. One of the princes of Egypt.
He is away at the office almost everyday, his wife Mrs. Potiphar was a very lonely desperate housewife. Joseph was a young handsome single man. And you know the story already, how Mrs. Potiphar came on to Joseph, "Come on Joey baby. Nobody is looking. You and I, man, come on!" And you may remember that Joseph said with integrity, "Nobody, physically, humanly might be looking but God is looking. How could I do this wickedness and sin against God?" At that point, she screams, she cries out and she accuses Joseph of being a rapist. A false accusation which lands him a stay in the Egyptian prison. Very similar to Jesus, falsely accuse for crimes he did not commit. And once again, as I mentioned, before the Sanhedrin, they had to come up with false witnesses to bring in false accusations. And you know what they said about him? They said, "This man perverts the nation." They said that about Jesus, "This man perverts the nation and forbids people to pay taxes to Caesar." They said that because Jesus said, "Render under Caesar the things that are Caesar's, but render under God that things that are God's." False accusations.
Number four. Accused falsely. Number five. Joseph was providentially placed next to two other criminals. Chapter 40, when he's put in prison, it says that there were two other man. A chief butler of Egypt and the chief baker who were placed in the same cell next to Joseph, two criminals next to Joseph during his confinement. Now, that rings a bell. That brings us to the cross, whereas Isaiah predicted and as the Gospels declare, Jesus was crucified between two criminals. One on the right, the bible says, and one on the left, Luke Chapter 23.
It's also interesting that when Joseph was in prison, one of those other prisoners was set free and exulted and the other one was killed. I find that fascinating because the two that were next to Jesus, one on the right and one on the left, one mocked Jesus, blasphemed Jesus and died in his sin eternally separated from God. The other humbly cried out, "Lord, remember me when you come in to your kingdom." And Jesus said, "Surely, I say to you, today, you will be with me in paradise." Spiritually one died, spiritually one lived.
There is a sixth way in which Joseph looks like Jesus. Joseph was seemingly dead to his father before he appears alive sometime later in Chapter 37. If you go down to verse 32, it says, they sent the tunic. Now, they took Joseph's favored status clothing dipped it in animals blood, said it was Josephs blood, and they brought it to their father and they said, "We found this." Liars. Do you know whether it is your son's tunic or not? Leading question. And he recognized it and said, "It is my son's tunic." "A wild beast has devoured him." Without doubt, Joseph is torn in pieces then Jacob tore his clothes, put sack cloth on his waist and morn for his son many days.
For years, his father thought he was dead. Until Chapter 45, when the boys come back from Egypt needing to get grain, Joseph reveals himself to them and he goes, "Go tell my father I'm alive." Well, they have to because they won't be able to get their son Benjamin back unless they do it. So they come clean with dad and they say, "Your son Joseph lives." The Bible says, when Jacob heard that, his heart stood still. It's like... he couldn't believe it. That which was dead is now alive. How could that possible be. And it was uncovered how it could be. But Joseph was dead to his father for a period of time and then revealed to be alive. As Jesus died on the cross, was buried, rose from the dead, Peter in Acts Chapter 3 says to the people gathered in Jerusalem, "You killed the prince of life, but God raised him up from the dead."
The seventh way in which Joseph is like Jesus or looks like Jesus is that Joseph rightfully was in charge of everything. As the story in Genesis unfolds, he becomes the prime minister of Egypt and he's in charge of everything. He pulls the string effectively. He works in proxy for the king of Egypt himself. He rightfully is in charge of everything. Now, there's a hint of this, if you go back to Chapter 37 toward the beginning. In verse five, it says Joseph had a dream, and again, we'll cover this more in depth later, and he told it to his brothers and they hated him even more. So he said to them, "Please hear this dream which I have dreamed. There we were binding sheaves in the field then behold my sheaf arose also and stood upright, indeed your sheaves stood all around and bowed down to my sheaf." Of course, they wouldn't like to hear that dream. But that was prophetic of what would happen. He would become in charge effectively, rightfully, he became in charge of everything and everyone. If anybody in Egypt wanted to eat food or get grain, the one who his in charge of doling out percentage of grain was Joseph, in charge of everything. Jesus said, "The father has committed everything into the hands of the son." Jesus is rightfully in charge of everyone and everything as well. And as we have been studying, Jesus said, "I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never hunger. Whoever believes in me will never thirst." Joseph looks a lot like Jesus.
Number eight, and finally, I'll close with number eight since it tends to be the number of new beginnings and it's probably enough time said and spent. Is that with Joseph, everyone humbly bowed down to him, everyone humbly bowed down to Joseph. As the story goes on in Chapter 37 of these dreams that he tells his brothers. In verse nine, he says he dreams still another dream and he told it to his brothers. Now, you think he get a clue by this time. And he said, " Look, I've dreamed another dream. And this time the sun, the moon and the eleven stars bowed down to me, and not just your sheaves, but twelve plus two." Now watch. His father gets the point and will interpret the dream. So he told it to his father and his brothers. And his father rebuked him and said, "What is this dream that you have dreamed? Shall your mother and I and your brothers indeed come to bow down to the earth before you?"
Well, that's exactly what happened. In Chapter 42 and here's the text that says, Joseph's brothers, when they saw the prime minister of Egypt, not knowing it was Joseph, bowed down to the ground with their face to the ground before Joseph. In Chapter 47 and 48 when Jacob sees him, he bows down, his face down to the ground same language. "So your brothers and I bow down?" "Uh-huh, all you are going to bow down." That's why I say, Joseph looks a lot like Jesus, Philippians 2:10 that at the name of Jesus, every knee should bow, every tongue should confess, that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.
So Joseph looks a lot like Jesus. Now, why are we going through this and why do we actually discover this? I've only covered eight of the very many ways in which Joseph looks a lot like Jesus. Simply to show you what you find a lot in the scripture and that is the evidence of the fingerprint, so to speak, of the Holy Spirit and the Holy Writ in the scripture itself, in the superintending of the writing of the text so that we have the very words of God given to us. The whole Bible is filled with Jesus, the whole Bible. That's why we study the Old Testament. I've been asked, "Why do you study the Old Testament and the New Testament? Why don't you just study the New Testament?" Well, because Jesus said to those religious leaders of his day, "Search the scriptures, for in them, you think that you have eternal life, but these are they which testify of me." But even Genesis, even Leviticus, and Exodus and Numbers and Deuteronomy, the Torah, the works of Moses. Oh, yes! Because you see, after Jesus rose from the dead and he was walking along the road and there were those two disciples who were despondent and they said, "Man, we can't believed what's happened. This Jesus guy whom we believed died and he spoke something about a resurrection and I don't really know what that about." And Jesus said "Oh, slow of heart to believe all that the prophet has spoken. Ought not Christ to have suffered and entered into his glory." Now, listen to this, it says, "And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded to them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself."
He went back to Genesis. He took the writings of Moses and the prophets and he showed how one typifies him and another predicts him and this one was symbolic of him. Wouldn't you have loved to be in on that Bible study? If ever there was a time I wish somebody would have recorded that or put it on CD or tape or even a reel-to-reel. It was that prophetic Bible study, post resurrection of Christ and those on the way to. Joseph looks a lot like Jesus. Here's the follow up question. How much do you look like Jesus? Is there a family resemblance? Can people tell that you're a child of God? All my son's life, he had heard, "You look like your dad." But if somebody could say, "You know what. I see enough of God in you that you remind me of the Heavenly Father or you remind me of Jesus." What a compliment. How much do we look like him? How much of Jesus values do we share? I think one of the things that teeters us to those values is what we're doing tonight than what we do once a month, taking the Lord 's Supper. It's the foundation, it's the rudimentary foundation of our faith, his broken body, his shed blood did it all.
One of the things that Jesus said about himself is, "I am the light of the world. I am the light of the world." But he said something else. He said, "You are the light of the world. As long as I am in the world I am the light of the world." But he said to his disciples, "You are the light of the world." How much do you reflect his light? When you have a full moon, you get a good idea of how bright the sun shines on the moon and reflects--that's just a reflection, it's not the moons light, the moon just reflects the sunlight and comes down to us quarter million miles away at a 186,000 miles per second using the glory of the sun reflected in the moon. Can people see the glory of the recent Christ reflected in us?
Now, at the communion table, you notice something burning with wax dripping all over it. It's something special and I wanted to display it tonight. It's a menorah. It was purchased. I bought it in Jerusalem from an antiquities dealer in Jerusalem. I actually saw it two years ago and I said, "Well, I'll think about it." And I gave him business card and he taped it to it. And when I was in his store a couple moths back, two years after that time, my card was still attached to that menorah. So I thought, "Okay, I should just pick it up and not doodle anymore." So I purchased it.
But it's a special menorah for a couple of reasons. Number one is the shape. The shape of this menorah is probably almost exactly what the shape of the menorah in the temple was like that was destroyed in 70 A.D. Much smaller scale and of course this being brass as opposed to gold, but the same shape. And the reason I say that is because the only known accurate relief or depiction we have of the menorah of the temple at Jesus time is found in Rome on a relief of what's called the Arch of Titus, the triumphal Arch after Titus sat Jerusalem and brought back some of the remnants of the temple. And shown on there are they are carrying with them the menorah and it's shaped with the three steps and the dimensions are identical to this one.
It is a symbol of the modern state of Israel but it was a symbol in the tabernacle and then the temple of the presence of God. There was only one source of light in the tabernacle in the temple, and that was the menorah. And no doubt, their minds went to that when Jesus said, "I am the light of the world." They would have thought of the light in the most holy place. But also, it's special because it's an antique menorah. This wasn't made within a couple of years. This was made over a hundred or two hundred years ago. It's from a synagogue in a very special Galilean town called Zefat or transliterated into English Safed. And besides having a lot of other interesting things attached to that, Safed was the city at the time of Jesus that could be seen from anywhere around the ring of the shores of Galilean on the lake because it was the city set up on a hill. And Jesus pointed to that city and said, "A city that is set upon a hill cannot be hidden, neither do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but they put it up to give light to all that are in the house. Let your light shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your father which is in heaven. There were no other cities that was set up on a hill and it still are in that Galilean region, like Zefat, that ancient town.
So Jesus was probably referring to that town and that it is where the menorah came from and when I found out its history, I thought that so significant. It's such a great living illustration of what the lord wants us to be, reflectors of his glory of his light. Wherever we go, wherever we work, whatever family system you're in, whatever story you shop in, whatever school you go to, whatever neighborhood you live in, turn on the light from time to time, let people know the glory of the living Christ.