How Does Joseph’s Life Prefigure Jesus?

Joseph, one of the most prominent figures in the Old Testament, is a fascinating character whose life prefigures Jesus in numerous ways. From his humble beginnings as a shepherd boy to his rise to power as the second-in-command of Egypt, Joseph’s story is full of twists and turns that ultimately lead to his salvation.

The Life of Joseph

Joseph was born to Jacob and Rachel, one of Jacob’s two wives. He was the eleventh son of Jacob and was favored by his father, which caused jealousy and resentment among his older brothers. They sold him into slavery when he was 17 years old, and he ended up in Egypt where he worked for Potiphar, a high-ranking Egyptian official.

However, Joseph’s fortunes took a turn for the worse when he was falsely accused of attempted rape by Potiphar’s wife. He was thrown into prison but soon caught the eye of Pharaoh, who had been troubled by a series of dreams that no one could interpret. Joseph accurately interpreted Pharaoh’s dreams as prophecies about seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine.

Pharaoh appointed Joseph as his second-in-command and put him in charge of storing up food during the years of plenty so that Egypt would be prepared for the years of famine. When famine struck, people from neighboring countries came to Egypt to buy food from Joseph, including Joseph’s own brothers who did not recognize him.

Joseph Prefigures Jesus

Joseph’s life is full of parallels with Jesus’ life and ministry. Here are some ways in which Joseph prefigures Jesus:

1. Both were betrayed by those closest to them.

Just as Joseph was sold into slavery by his own brothers, Jesus was betrayed by one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot.

2. Both were falsely accused.

Joseph was falsely accused of attempted rape by Potiphar’s wife, while Jesus was falsely accused of blasphemy and sedition by the religious leaders.

3. Both were exalted after being humbled.

Joseph went from being a slave and a prisoner to being second-in-command of Egypt, while Jesus went from being crucified as a criminal to being raised from the dead and exalted to the right hand of God.

4. Both saved their people from famine.

Joseph’s wise management of Egypt’s resources during the years of plenty saved countless lives during the years of famine, just as Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross saves us from eternal spiritual famine.


Joseph’s life is an inspiring story of how God can work all things together for good for those who love Him (Romans 8:28). It is also a foreshadowing of Jesus’ life and ministry, showing us that God had a plan for salvation from the very beginning. As we read about Joseph’s trials and triumphs, may we be encouraged in our own faith journeys and reminded that God is always with us, even in our darkest moments.