Bible Readings for February 8th
Despite the fact that the cupbearer had promised Joseph he would remember him and work to free Joseph from prison, two entire years pass without anything happening to rescue Joseph. And once again, even though the cupbearer abandons Joseph (one more person in a long line of people who had mistreated him), God still does not abandon Joseph. By the hand of God, Pharaoh has a dream that deeply troubles him, forcing him to find someone–anyone—in his kingdom who has the ability to help with its interpretation.
It is only at this point that the cupbearer remembers that he does know someone who can interpret dreams. And with that, Joseph is raised up out of prison, shaven, given new clothes, and set before Pharaoh to interpret the dream (Gen. 41:14).
So, Joseph interprets the dream, explaining that God was telling Pharaoh about the next fourteen years: there would be seven years of plenty, followed by seven years of famine. Then, when Joseph displays his wisdom by offering to Pharaoh a blueprint of how to lead his people through that famine, Pharaoh exalts Joseph, giving him all authority over Egypt, only one step in authority below Pharaoh himself.
I hope that you are beginning to see a pattern here. With every piece of the unfolding story of Joseph, we see more of the overall picture of the Lord Jesus Christ. Like Joseph, Jesus suffered, he was raised up, and he was glorified, receiving all authority in heaven and on earth. Again, Joseph is a real, historical person whose story is important on its own, but God also tells us this story to foreshadow who Jesus would be.
In fact, the story of Joseph is such powerful evidence that the Messiah would have to suffer, die, and rise again that the ancient Jewish rabbis believed there would actually be two Messiahs—a conquering warrior-king whom they referred to as the Son of David and a suffering servant whom they referred to as the Son of Joseph.1 They simply couldn’t imagine that one Messiah could fulfill both roles.
So, imagine for a moment that you were one of the Jews on the road to Emmaus, trying to figure out what exactly had happened with the crucifixion of Jesus and the quickly spreading rumors of his resurrection, and suddenly Jesus himself had met you on the road. As he began to unfold to you the whole story of the Scriptures, your heart would have burned within you as Jesus asked, “Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” (Luke 24:26), and as you realized that the stories you had heard all your life—including the story of Joseph—all pointed forward to Jesus.
But the picture isn’t quite yet complete. We’ll continue on with the story of Joseph to read about his reconciliation with his brothers in tomorrow’s reading.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.