Discovering something new in God’s word is always exhilarating. It occurred to me the other day as I was reading the Gospels that the life of Christ is bookended with two Josephs: His earthly father Joseph and Joseph of Arimathea.


It got me to thinking, “what is so significant about the name Joseph?” God does not do anything without purpose. So, I looked up the name Joseph to find its origins. You first see it in Genesis chapter 30 when Rachel called her son Joseph. The etymology of the name is clear in the text, “God, he will add another.” Rachel was looking for another son. The word that she used was yasaph (יספ). It means, “he will add”. She combined that with Jehovah. Jehovah is comprised of the three being verbs, he was, he is, and he will be. The name Joseph (יוספ) is the result. The only difference between yasaph and Joseph is the letter vav (ו) which carries the o of Jehovah.

God answered Rachael’s prayer with Benjamin. It is as if in that moment, God said, “You want to use my name? I will integrate you into my story. The story of redemption. You will not be buried in the cave of Machpelah with the rest of the family. I will set you in Ephrata, which is which is Bethlehem. You will be a marker of where My story will continue.”

Consider the word for book in Hebrew, sefer (ספר). The scribes are called sopher (ספר). The only difference between the two words are the vowels. Essentially, a scribe writes the story, but the story is added to by the storyteller. He is God and God alone.

To illustrate the point, in German, the word for number is Zahl. To count is zählen and to tell a story is erzählen. They all have the same root. Similarly in English, we number, we enumerate a list or count, and we give an account of an event. We tell the story.

God uses everything to tell one story, the story of redemption. Redemption is the point of the entire Bible. As Christians, if the gospel is not the point of our life, our life is pointless. God took the life of Joseph and made a pattern of the coming Messiah. Joseph, the dreamer, the declarer the meaning of dreams, is a pattern of the life of Christ.

Joseph was sold for 20 pieces of silver by his brothers. He was convicted and punished for crimes he did not commit. He was lifted up and he procured salvation from a worldwide famine. God added to his story.

Fast forward several hundred years outside the city of Bethlehem where Rachel lay. There in a manger was our Lord and Savior. Next to Mary was a Joseph. God placed the first bookmark in the life of Christ. Prophecy after prophecy was filled.

But God was still adding to the story with Rachel. The evil Herod killed all the male children two years and younger from the city of Bethlehem. God sent Joseph and Mary and baby Jesus to Egypt. Egypt is a picture of the world system. The world system is in enmity with God. The suffering of Rachel was stilled by the realization that the Messiah would be safe and return from the enemy as Christ’s sufferings were stilled through the resurrection and the joy, He has is everyone who believes!

Jeremiah 31:15-16

”Thus saith the LORD; A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping; Rahel weeping for her children refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not. Thus saith the LORD; Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears: for thy work shall be rewarded, saith the LORD; and they shall come again from the land of the enemy.”

As Joseph was sold for 20 pieces of silver, Jesus was sold for 30 pieces of silver, condemned, and penalized for the sins of the whole world. He was also lifted up, but on a cross to give His life. At His death, there was a Joseph to lend Him a grave. God again, added to His story. After three days and nights, Jesus rose victoriously.

God laid out the pattern of the way through the first Joseph. God’s fulfillment of the truth of all the prophets was marked by the second Joseph. The death and glorious Resurrection into life was marked with the third Joseph. God adds to His story. 

John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

Is your life a marker of the gospel, showing the way to others? Can God add through you?

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