Beckett: Jesus Staked His Life on You

Read Genesis 43:1-28.

Consider the irony of Judah’s leadership. He, along with the rest of his brothers, eagerly sold their brother Joseph into slavery who is still alive and in a high government position, though unbeknownst to them. Joseph was their youngest brother who had learnt of their new youngest brother, Benjamin. So, he demanded they bring him before him. And here is the irony: Judah and his brothers were eager to kill their formerly youngest brother and now Judah says of Benjamin to their father Israel, “I will be a pledge of his safety. From my hand you shall require him. If I do not bring him back to you and set him before you, then let me bear the blame forever” (v. 9). We would have a totally different story if Judah had said this of Joseph!

Why the change of heart? Clearly Israel favoured Benjamin his youngest son (v. 6), though maybe not to the same extent as Joseph. So, why would Judah stake his life on his youngest brother’s safety now? Maybe he and his brothers felt guilty for their sickening betrayal of Joseph. We don’t really know.

Joseph is often viewed as the Christ figure in this story, as he most certainly is. Yet perhaps here we also see Christ in Judah (finally, as Christ comes from his tribe). Jesus staked His life on bringing you to God. Imagine how different things would be if Jesus had not died for you—if Satan had succeeded in the wilderness, or if Jesus had exercised His authority to save Himself from the cross. But He didn’t.

Judah staked his life on Benjamin’s safety so that his people might live. He was ready to die for his brother(s) and his people. Jesus came ready to die for His brothers (cf. Hebrews 2:11-12) and His people for the sake of their safety—shelter from the wrath of God, which He took upon Himself on the cross in your place. Because Jesus staked His life on you, stakes nailed Him to the cross, dying so that you may live.

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