Advent Devotional | Day 4: Jesus and the Story of Joseph

Yesu dɘ agaran Yusufu

Teyaa / Genesis 37, 39–50

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.
– Genesis 50:20

Today in most of northern Nigeria, it is common to go to sleep after a long day of working on the farm only to find yourself not allowed to sleep and eventually away from your God-given land and community. You might end up living as a displaced person or a refugee in another country, away from parents, siblings, school, and many things a person has grown up to love—all as a result of an attack by Islamic jihadists. One of the painful realities of such stories is finding out, after investigations by security personnel, that the attackers were aided by community members—sometimes even a relative or sibling. The story of Joseph and its parallels to the life of Jesus has a lot to teach us about what our response should be amid our reality as we reflect on Christ’s coming to the world this season.

Joseph’s and Jesus’ Identity: Joseph is a foreshadowing of Jesus Christ. Reading through Genesis 37, you encounter Joseph, a favoured and loved child of Jacob who went on an errand for his father and was caught, thrown into a pit, and eventually sold into slavery by his siblings. Jesus Christ, the beloved Son of God, willingly left the splendour of heaven to be born into the broken world to serve His Father’s mission (Philippians 2:3–7) and, like Joseph, experienced rejection, betrayal, and suffering from the ones He loved. Their stories should encourage us! Despite being God’s children committed to serving His purpose on earth, we may face trials and temptations, but that should not change our commitment to serving God’s purpose in and through those hard realities.

God’s Redemption through Suffering: Throughout Genesis 39–50, one can see God’s providence and faithful care for Joseph even amid adversity, pain, and life in a foreign land far from home. At one point in the story, after a declaration of God’s presence in his life that led to a promotion, Joseph was wrongly accused and imprisoned for standing for the right thing. Still, he clung to his faith and obeyed God. Similarly, Jesus Christ, despite declaring His mission, doing miracles, and serving people, was accused, rejected, and ultimately crucified by the ones He was born to save. Ultimately, Joseph’s yielding to God brought redemption to many persons and the preservation of many generations of both Jew and Gentile. Likewise, Jesus’ commitment to the Father’s purpose brought salvation to mankind. Might that encourage your perseverance through suffering, too.

Finding Hope in God’s Presence Amid Adversity: In Genesis 39:1–2, we read that Joseph was taken to Egypt and that God was with him. This reality was also evident in the ministry of Jesus Christ where angels attended to Him after a period of temptation. When I was younger, a crisis interrupted my studies in high school and higher institutions because of the persecution of Christians in the Bauchi State of northeastern Nigeria. Reading about Joseph and Jesus has enabled me to go through the trauma and the pains the memory brings all the time. As you reflect on the birth of Jesus Christ and the challenges of His life, do remember that God is with you even amid adversity.

Joseph’s and Jesus’ Rise to Prominence: The story of Joseph and Jesus Christ did not end with the challenges they faced. Joseph became a prime minister in Egypt and moved on to save his entire family and that generation of God’s people. Jesus Christ’s obedience to come to the world and endure the rejections, suffering, death, and resurrection lead to His exaltation to the right hand of the Father as Saviour and Lord of the world.

This Advent season as we reflect on Jesus Christ and the life of Joseph, may we be assured that despite the pains and rejections we face in the world, God is with us, and He will turn things for the good of humanity and the glory of God.

Pastor in Central Africa

Details withheld for security reasons