The Striking Similarities and Portrayal of Joseph and Jesus Christ

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

The story of Joseph in Genesis has striking similarities and portrayals to Jesus Christ.

Jesus and Joseph

The story of Joseph in Genesis has striking similarities and portrayals to Jesus Christ. Joseph is the only man in the Bible (besides Jesus) who is never said to have sinned. Of course, we all sin and fall short of His glory (Rom 3:32), but the Scriptures are silent about Joseph’s sin. We know he did, but the reason that it is never mentioned is perhaps God is showing us an example or forerunner of the coming sinless Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, Who was without sin. Joseph’s life is a portrayal of the coming sinless Messiah, Jesus Christ. This may explain why over 1/4th of the Book of Genesis focuses on Joseph. He takes up more space than Adam, Noah and Abraham combined. Why? Again, it may be a way of God teaching us what the Son of God is like and the reason He came into the world (Mark 10:45).

Striking Similarities Between Jesus and Joseph

He had promises of exaltation (Joseph’s dream).

He was mocked by his family.

He was sold for pieces of silver – regular price of a slave.

He was given a robe.

He was stripped of his robe.

He was delivered up to the Gentiles.

He was falsely accused.

He had false witnesses lie about him.

He was faithful amid temptation.

He was thrown into prison.

Taking up your cross daily

We were redeemd by the precious blood of the Lamb.

He was hated without a cause.

He is never said to have sinned.

He is the object of his father’s special love.

He stood before rulers.

His power was acknowledged by the highest authority.

He is exalted after and through humiliation.

He embraces God’s purpose even though it brings him intense suffering.

He is the instrument God uses to bless the Gentiles & Jews.

He saves the lives for both Jews & Gentiles (grain-famine).

He welcomes Gentiles to be part of his family.

He gives hungry people the bread of life.

They wanted to kill him.

People must bow their knee before him.

Everyone will profess his name, now or later.

Bids all who are hungry, come to him.

Sold Into Slavery

Joseph’s brothers were clearly jealous of him because Jacob loved him more than all the others (Gen 37:3-4), so when “They saw him from afar, and before he came near to them they conspired against him to kill him” (Gen 37:18). Thankfully, “when Reuben heard it, he rescued him out of their hands, saying, “Let us not take his life” (Gen 37:21). His brothers sinned greatly when “they took him and threw him into a pit. The pit was empty; there was no water in it” (Gen 37:24), apparently left there to die. Judah, one of his brothers, said, “Come, let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, and let not our hand be upon him, for he is our brother, our own flesh.” And his brothers listened to him” (Gen 37:27). Once more, they thought they had seen the last of Joseph. They had rejected him and then sold him into slavery, betraying him; Jesus similarly was rejected by His own family (at first) and Judas, one of the Twelve, betrayed Him for thirty pieces of silver. Like Joseph, Jesus was hated without a cause.

Hated Without a Cause

Joseph was later sold to Potiphar, Pharaoh’s chief guard, and later thrown into prison by having false accusations made about him. Jesus too was falsely accused by false witnesses and had witnesses lie about Him and was thrown into prison. Even though Joseph was in prison without reason, it says numerous times that “the Lord was with Joseph” (Gen 39:2). Even while a slave, and later, even worse, in prison without a cause, it says again and again, that “the Lord was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison” (Gen 39:21).

Meant For Evil

What God allows in this life is meant for our good. The Apostle Paul said as much in writing that “we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Rom 8:28). It doesn’t say only the good things work out for our good, but all things, good and bad; even very bad! When Joseph’s brothers unfairly sold him into slavery, they had thought that was the last of Joseph, but God was using their evil for good. Joseph told his brothers, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today” (Gen 50:20). He is not denying they did evil, because they did, but that God can even use evil to accomplish His purposes. This perspective is given in John 3:16 and it gives it greater meaning to where it says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

His unjust suffering and unjust judgment brought about the salvation of millions who would later trust in Him for eternal life. He was treated as we should have been treated, for we deserved it; He did not. Like Joseph, Jesus was innocent. By the way, that is the greatest evil historical travesty of justice ever done (Calvary), but it brought about the greatest good the world has or ever will see (Rom 10:9-13; Acts 4:12).


Finally, I pray you have already put your trust in Jesus Christ, but if that has not happened yet, my friend, right now you are in real danger of hell fire. And I mean, in immediate danger. Like all lost sinners, you are one breath, one heartbeat…one accident away from eternity and then it will be too late to repent. I plead with you make today your day of salvation (2 Cor 6:2) because tomorrow is not guaranteed to anyone. If Jesus Christ were to come today, you would be in real trouble (Matt 7:21-23). Right this moment, as you read this, repent and put your trust in the Savior. If not, you will face God’s judgment after death (Heb 9:27) or at Jesus Christ’s appearance (Rev 20:12-15), whatever comes first and either of these could happen at any moment.

Here is some related reading for you: What Was the Significance With the 30 (Thirty) Pieces of Silver

Resource – Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), Crossway Bibles. (2007). ESV: Study Bible: English standard version. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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