Messiah ben Joseph
Many Ancient rabbis saw in Joseph a type of the coming of the Messiah. They distinguished the difference between the reigning sovereign king Messiah and the suffering Messiah. The future sovereign king they called Messiah ben David, and the suffering Messiah they called Messiah ben Joseph. Many noted scholars have drawn the comparisons between the life of Joseph and Jesus the Messiah. Without getting fanciful and flighty let’s examine some highlights and comparisons of these two outstanding men.
Joseph and Jesus were both loved by their fathers.
Genesis 37:3 says, “Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children . . .” Jacob’s love for Joseph is demonstrated overwhelming in his grieving of his “dead” son.
On three occasions in the life of Jesus there was the clear testimony of the Heavenly Father’s love for His Son. The Father declares Jesus to be His Son. “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased” (Matthew 3:17). Jesus testified to that love saying, “The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.” (John 3:35). In John 5:20 Jesus said, “For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth: and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel.”
Joseph and Jesus were both hated by their brothers.
Joseph was the first born son of Rachael, Jacob’s favorite wife. Jacob loved Rachael, but married Leah
through the deception of her father (Genesis 29).
There was already a house of siblings by the time Joseph arrived, sons of Jacob and Leah. The antagonism of being the favored son grew into outright hate by the time he was a teenager. One day Joseph suggested the idea that in a dream he saw them along with his father and mother bowing down to him! When he was seventeen Jacob sent Joseph to the fields to check on his brothers. They saw him coming and determined to kill him. His oldest brother Reuben interceded and threw him in a pit hoping to rescue him later. While he was gone the other brothers saw an Ishmaelite caravan passing by and sold Joseph as slave to them. They killed a goat, dipped Joseph’s coat in blood and told their father that they had found the blood-soaked coat. They let him conclude that a wild animal had killed his favorite son.
Regarding Joseph, Moses wrote, “And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him.” (Genesis 37:4). This hatred provoked their evil plan to kill him.
Jesus “came unto his own, and his own received him not.” (John 1:11). He observed the following behavior toward him by the members of His own nation. He said, “He that hateth me hateth my Father also. If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father. But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause.” (John 15:23-25). In Matthew 12:47, while Jesus was teaching, someone said, “Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee.” Jesus responded with a gesture by saying those who were His true mother and brethren were those who listened to Him and believed His words. His own brothers in the flesh did not believe in Him until after He was raised from the dead.
Joseph and Jesus were both conspired upon by their enemies to be put to death.
The brothers of Joseph saw him approaching from a distance and “even before he came near unto them, they conspired against him to slay him.” (Genesis 37:18).
You don’t read very long into the Gospel accounts until you encounter the enemies of Jesus seeking to put Him to death. After watching Jesus heal on the Sabbath his enemies, “And the Pharisees went forth, and straightway took counsel with the Herodians against him, how they might destroy him.” (Mark 3:6).
Although Joseph was not put to death, he was accounted for dead by his father. He was presumed dead based upon the news from his brothers and the blood stained robe. They told their father, “This have we found: know now whether it be thy son’s coat or no.” Jacob examined it, and said, “It is my son’s coat.” Jacob tore his clothes, put sackcloth on his loins and mourned for his son many days. It was taken for granted by his father that Joseph was dead.
Jesus, on the other hand, actually died and was buried. History proves this fact. The historian wrote: “And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots. And sitting down they watched him there; And set up over his head his accusation written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.” (Matthew 27:35-37). Roman soldiers certified to Pilate that Jesus was actually dead before he would release the body for proper burial (Mark 15:44-45). Roman soldiers guarded the entrance to the tomb. No man, dead or alive, could have entered or left that tomb without their knowledge of it.
Jesus and Joseph were both recognized after their deaths.
Joseph was understood to be dead for 21 years, and when Joseph’s brothers went to Egypt looking for food, he was waiting for them. However, he was not waiting for vengeance, but in anticipation to give them food and deliver them from their famine. He was their savior after 21 years of being assumed dead.
Jesus’ own brothers, and members of the family of Israel recognized Him, after His resurrection from the dead. They saw Him and worshiped Him. Two of His disciples recognized Him on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24). Thomas emphatically declared that he would not believe in the resurrection until he saw Jesus with his own eyes, and put his hands into the nail prints and reached into His side. That very same Thomas stood in the physical presence of Jesus and exclaimed, “My Lord and my God” (John 20:24-31).
Another agnostic gave his testimony after seeing Jesus. “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.” (I Corinthians 15:3-8). The implication is, if you don’t believe me, ask these witnesses. Most of them were still alive at the time Paul was writing his letter to the Corinthians.
Many more comparisons can be made, but hopefully these will whet your spiritual appetite. With the Apostle Peter we can proclaim, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12).
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