Joseph, Jesus And The Interpreter

Below are notes to a sermon preached Sunday evening, December 28, 2003, at Gospel Light Baptist Church, Albany, Georgia. 
by Michael D. O’Neal                    Pastor, Gospel Light Baptist Church                Albany, Georgia

Scripture Reading: Gen. 42:9-25

Text: Gen. 42:23

Genesis 42:23 And they knew not that Joseph understood them; for he spake unto them by an interpreter.

Introduction: One of the ways to study the Old Testament is to look for JESUS on every page, either in plain view, in prophecy, or in picture. If you study thoroughly, you will find Him in every book. One of the greatest, if not THE greatest, of all pictures of our Lord in the Old Testament is the man named Joseph. We say that Joseph is a “type,” or prophetic picture, of Christ because so many characteristics of his life matched those of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Tonight I want you to notice that Joseph’s speech was unknown to the people who needed Him most. He spoke to them through an interpreter.

The likeness is that when Jesus came into this world, the people who needed Him most did not understand what He had to say.

If this seems like a farfetched comparison, remember that Jesus commanded:

John 5:39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.

In that very chapter He told us that He was referring to the writings of Moses!

John 5:46 For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me.

I believe the Lord Jesus Christ could easily have referred to the life and character of Joseph in Genesis, when He
met with two of His disciples after the resurrection,

Luke 24:27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.

Tonight I hope you will notice the similarities and see Jesus in the story of Joseph’s meeting with his brethren, speaking in such a way that they could not understand, in a message called:


Many times the words of Jesus were not understood by those who heard Him:

Luke 18:34 And they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken.


Genesis 42:7 And Joseph saw his brethren, and he knew them, but made himself strange unto them, and spake roughly unto them; and he said unto them, Whence come ye? And they said, From the land of Canaan to buy food.

Genesis 42:9 And Joseph remembered the dreams which he dreamed of them, and said unto them, Ye are spies; to see the nakedness of the land ye are come.

A. He manifests the anger of God

B. He makes accusations of the sinner


Genesis 42:20-22 But bring your youngest brother unto me; so shall your words be verified, and ye shall not die. And they did so. 21 And they said one to another, We are verily guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us, and we would not hear; therefore is this distress come upon us. 22 And Reuben answered them, saying, Spake I not unto you, saying, Do not sin against the child; and ye would not hear? therefore, behold, also his blood is required.

Genesis 44:4-6 And when they were gone out of the city, and not yet far off, Joseph said unto his steward, Up, follow after the men; and when thou dost overtake them, say unto them, Wherefore have ye rewarded evil for good? 5 Is not this it in which my lord drinketh, and whereby indeed he divineth? ye have done evil in so doing. 6 And he overtook them, and he spake unto them these same words.

Genesis 44:16 And Judah said, What shall we say unto my lord? what shall we speak? or how shall we clear ourselves? God hath found out the iniquity of thy servants: behold, we are my lord’s servants, both we, and he also with whom the cup is found.

A. He points out sin

B. He pulls out a confession

C. He pronounces judgment

D. He persuades the sinner that he deserves judgment


Genesis 44:15 And Joseph said unto them, What deed is this that ye have done? wot ye not that such a man as I can certainly divine?

Speaking of the coming Holy Spirit, Jesus said:

John 16:14 14-15 shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. 15 All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

The Holy Ghost reveals :

A. The Person of Jesus

B. The purity of Jesus

C. The pardon of Jesus

D. The possessions of Jesus
1. Heaven – all of it
2. Happiness
3. Holiness


Genesis 42:23 And they knew not that Joseph understood them; for he spake unto them by an interpreter.

John 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

1 Corinthians 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

A. He helps us understand the prophecies of the Bible
1. Jn. 16:13 “things to come”

B. He helps us understand the program of the Bible – dispensations

C. He helps us understand the problems of the Bible
1. Those “things hard to be understood
2. The “deep things of God”

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