Teaching our Children about Jesus from the Old Testament by Dr. Warren Gage


Our greatest duty as Christian parents is to raise our children with a love for Jesus as their Savior. This is ultimately why it is so important for Christian parents to read the Bible with their children—so that their children can come to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and His Word from a young age. But in seeking to teach the Bible to their children, many Christian parents often run into a big problem. Most Christian parents find it easy to teach their children about Jesus when reading New Testament stories. But they struggle with the inevitable question, “How do I teach my children about Jesus from the stories of the Old Testament?”

Thankfully, Jesus himself has given us the answer! On the day of his resurrection, Jesus explained to two of his disciples from Emmaus that every story in the Old Testament points directly to him (Luke 24:26-27). What did the Savior mean by that shocking statement? How is it that every story in the Old Testament points directly to Jesus? Thankfully, Jesus has provided this answer to us as well. Jesus explained that every story in the Old Testament ultimately points us to his “suffering” on the cross and also to the “glory” of his resurrection (Luke 24:26-27). That is, every story in the Old Testament not only points to Jesus, but every story in the Old Testament specifically points to his death on the cross and to his glorious resurrection!

On the Road to Emmaus, Jesus went on to describe to his disciples how the writings of Moses and the Prophets were pointing to him by giving concrete examples (Luke 24:27). So let’s follow that pattern. Let’s take a look at the story of Joseph, a story that comes to us from Genesis, the first book of the Torah, which was written by Moses. As we consider the story of Joseph, see if you notice any parallels with Jesus’ suffering on the cross and glorious resurrection!

Joseph was the beloved son of his father, Jacob. As a result, Joseph’s brothers grew jealous of him. They hated their brother so much that they wanted to kill him! In exchange for silver, the brother named Judah (in Greek: Judas) sold Joseph into slavery in Egypt, the land of graves and the dead. After being taken down to Egypt, Joseph was falsely accused and thrown into a prison, an underground dungeon and metaphorical place of death. In that place where prisoners awaited death, the innocent Joseph encountered two prisoners. Imagine Joseph standing between these two criminals! The two men had two different destinies. The first man was a baker of bread, who was destined to be lifted up and hanged on a tree of death. The second man was a cupbearer of wine, who would be raised from the dungeon of death up to the right hand of Pharaoh, the king, after three days! In prison, Joseph asked the cupbearer to remember him. The cupbearer forgot him, but in time, God himself remembered Joseph. One day, Joseph was summoned to interpret Pharaoh’s dreams. In the end, Joseph was raised from the dungeon of death to the right hand of Pharaoh, where he provided bread to all the nations during a time of worldwide famine!

Were you able to see the parallels to Jesus’ suffering and subsequent glorious resurrection on your own? Remarkably, Joseph’s story is not the only one that points to Jesus in this example. Notice how the stories of the baker and the cupbearer, when taken together, anticipate Jesus’ destiny to be hanged on a tree of death and, after three days, be lifted up and ultimately raised to the right hand of the King! The main character of interest to us in this story is still Joseph, though, so let’s take a closer look at how his story aligns to Jesus’.

Like Joseph, Jesus was the beloved son of God the Father. But some of Jesus’ earthly brothers grew jealous of him. They hated him so much they wanted to kill him. In exchange for silver, the brother named Judas (in Hebrew: Judah) sold Jesus into the hands of those who would condemn him to death. Jesus was falsely accused and taken to Calvary, the place of death. There, the innocent Jesus was lifted up on a cross between two criminals with two different destinies. (Just before this, Jesus had asked the disciples at the Last Supper, with the bread and the wine, “Remember me.”) In time, God remembered Jesus. After three days, Jesus was raised up from the grave of death and later ascended to the right hand of the King, where he now provides the Bread of Life to anyone among the nations who calls upon his name!

As remarkable as the connections are, this is only the beginning! In his providence, God has arranged all the stories of the heroes and heroines in the Old Testament to point to Jesus in magnificent detail. What a wonderful message to begin teaching our children as they read the Old Testament!

If you are a parent who wants to teach this message to your children, our nonprofit ministry, Watermark Gospel, has many wonderful, free resources to help you. We produce short, 3-minute animation videos that the whole family can enjoy on how the stories of the Old and New Testament point directly to Jesus. Be sure to check out our 3-minute video on the story of Joseph below. For more videos, visit us online at: WatermarkGospel.com.

Dr. Warren Gage, J.D., Ph.D., Th.M, is the Founder and President of Watermark Gospel, a nonprofit ministry that aims to show believers how to find Jesus in every Bible story through short animation videos that the whole family can enjoy. Learn more at: WatermarkGospel.com

For more resources on the story of Joseph by Dr. Gage:

The Story of Joseph and Judah (Paperback Book) by Dr. Warren Gage takes a fresh look at the story of Joseph in Genesis 37-50, revealing how Joseph’s suffering and subsequent deliverance points to the story of Jesus. If God had a magnificent redemptive purpose for Joseph’s suffering, will he not have a redemptive purpose for our own suffering?

Available Here: https://www.drwarrengage.com/store/p/the-story-of-joseph-judah


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