Reflections: Joseph, Patriarch

Daily Lectionary: Genesis 45:1-20, 24-28; Mark 13:1-23


“I am Joseph your brother, whom you sold into Egypt. But now, do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life.” (Genesis 45:4-5)


In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. There are many Old Testament people whose lives foreshadow and point us to the person and work of Jesus. Jesus says that His death and resurrection are foretold in Jonah’s three-day rest in the belly of the fish. Jesus says that His own body is the new and greater temple. Jesus declares that Abraham saw and believed in Him long before His incarnation for us. Joseph the patriarch is no different. 

Consider just a few of the many ways Joseph’s life foreshadows and points us to the life and work of Jesus. Joseph was betrayed by his brothers and left for dead. Jesus is betrayed by one of His own disciples so that He would be left for dead on the Cross. Joseph went down to Egypt to provide for the people of Egypt as well as for His own family. Jesus also went down to Egypt with His earthly family so that when He returned to Nazareth after Herod’s death, He would begin His life and ministry that would provide life and salvation not just for Israel, but for all nations. Joseph tells his brothers that what they meant for evil, God worked for good. Jesus, our greater Joseph, takes all the sin and evil that we have worked onto Himself on the Cross, and there, He works the greatest good for us in His crucifixion for us.

Today, as we remember and give thanks to God for Joseph the patriarch, we are also giving thanks to God and remember the grace and mercy of God which kept Joseph. For the same Lord who watched over Joseph in prison, slavery, and famine, is the same Lord who watches over you in all trials and travails of this life. Like Joseph, Jesus the greater Joseph was sent by God. The Father has sent His Son Jesus before us to preserve our lives, now and forever. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.


Lord God, heavenly Father, in the kingdom of Egypt the needy and suffering people were told to go to Joseph and do all that he shall say to them. May the needy and suffering people in the kingdom of Your Church now be provided for by those who follow in the example of Joseph as they love their neighbors as themselves; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

-Rev. Samuel Schuldheisz is pastor of Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church in Milton, WA.

Audio Reflections Speaker: Rev. Duane Bamsch

Learn more about your favorite hymns and find the deeper meaning behind the text with Eternal Anthems: The Story Behind Your Favorite Hymns. The book includes devotional commentary and historical facts from forty different contributing authors on fifty different hymns. Now available from Concordia Publishing House.