Judah and his brothers had broken their father's heart once before. How could he bear his father's suffering at the loss of a second brother? The ruler of the land of Egypt had just accused little Benjamin of stealing his prized silver cup, and in truth, the cup was in his bag. Jacob was already grieving at the thought of losing his son, Benjamin, after Joseph had been attacked and eaten in the wilderness by some wild animal. How could he cope with the loss of the other of his most favorite sons?
Judah wasn't bitter anymore. Not only had they gotten rid of Joseph, but they had broken their father's heart. And now, Judah was much more interested in his father's well-being than he was his own. So, he decided to beg the man to let Benjamin go in exchange for himself. Would he ever see his family again? His sons and daughters, his brothers, or his wife? It didn't matter; his heart was full of love for his father, and he was willing to do whatever it took to return his favorite son to him. Judah had sworn to his father that he would bring Ben back alive!
The account of Judah and his brothers in Genesis 44 is a striking foreshadowing of Christ's willingness to take the punishment of another upon himself for the pleasure of his Father. In this picture of redemption, we see Judah's desire to please his father eclipse his desire for his own well-being. Judah is ready to sacrifice everything for Jacob.
This helps us focus our affections in the right place. Jesus did not ultimately come out of love for us, though he most certainly does (and did) love us. His primary motivation was love for God the Father. He came to earth to seek and save that which was lost because his Father desired to be reconciled to his people. And Jesus was willing to sacrifice his life to please his Father.
Now it's our turn. Are you ready to sacrifice your life to please Christ, the one who redeemed you?
I thank God for Judah, and I thank God even more for the Lion of Judah!