The climax of the story…Judah is beginning to look a lot like Jesus. He’s willing to sacrifice himself for the good of another. It’s the greatest theme in literature…Katniss and Prim in The Hunger Games, Batman in The Dark Knight Rises, Carton in A Tale of Two Cities just to name a few. In fact Jesus said it this way, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone would lay down his life for his friend.” It’s a picture of the ultimate sacrifice that Jesus made for us, taking our place, dying in our stead, so that we might live.
Judah’s willingness to step in and offer himself, and the brothers insistence on returning with Benjamin are evidences of a spiritual transformation that has already begun to take place in their lives. At what point did they become believers…when did they pass from death to life? It’s hard to tell exactly from the story. For Judah it seems to have started with his encounter with Tamar. With the rest of the clan? The process seems to have started when they first met Joseph and were forced to acknowledge their sin. But whenever that was, we see a different character in the boys. Looking out for others. Willing to sacrifice themselves for another’s good. They’re beginning to look a lot like Jesus, too.
That’s what trusting Jesus is all about. It’s not just getting incrementally better. It’s about a total transformation…a new creation…death to life…kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of the beloved Son. God doesn’t save us just so that we could go to heaven. If that was the goal, guess what? You’d already be there. No, He saves us so that we can image Him, we can bear His image, to His creation. He wants to radically change us by His transforming grace so that we live and love like Jesus. It’s a lifelong process that begins the moment we trust Him and continues until we see Him face to face. If you aren’t experiencing that radical change? Maybe like the brothers you are carrying the guilt of unconfessed sin…as a believer you have already been forgiven, but guilt is a grace that tells us something’s wrong. We need to make it right. If we don’t, then our spiritual growth will be stunted…we will never experience the life that God saved us for. But maybe you have never said “yes” to Jesus. Maybe you’ve said “yes” to what your parents, or what your church, or what your friends believe, but you’ve never believed in Jesus yourself. You haven’t passed from death to life yet. But you can. Today could be the day.
May the transforming grace of God cause you and me to look a lot like Jesus today.
Until next time…stay salty.
This post is based on our Genesis series. Download the podcast at: Central Christian Church Main Service, or follow us on twitter: @ccclancaster