Is Christ truly on every page of Scripture? Does, as the title of my favorite little children’s Bible declares, every story whisper his name? Is the gospel hinted at or depicted in one form or fashion in every account?
There are times when I see someone look at a passage, say that they see Jesus, and I find myself scratching my head. But I must also say that there are many, very many, that require very little imagination to see Jesus.
Of course, I say all of that, and today is the first time that I have managed to notice that Genesis 44:33 is a verse that shows us Christ in vivid color. When the eleven brothers of Joseph come to Egypt to buy food, Joseph tricks them and makes them believe that their youngest brother, Benjamin, is going to be required to stay in prison in Egypt. Judah, knowing that his father would be devastated at the loss of what he believed to be his only living son through Rachel, approaches Joseph, and he shows us a glorious picture of Jesus.
Judah stands before Joseph and begs, “Now therefore, please let your servant remain instead of the boy as a servant to my lord, and let the boy go back with his brothers.” What does Judah do there? He says, “for the joy of my father, please punish me in the stead of my little brother. Let me suffer in his place. Let my suffering free him to return to his father.” The only thing that I see missing in this account to parallel the story of the atonement is that the father is not also the offended party in the redeeming transaction, but then, no parallel ever truly holds up under all scrutiny.
What did Jesus do? For the joy and glory of the Father, he came to earth. He interposed himself, put himself in the middle, between the just wrath of God and God’s children. Jesus suffered in our stead, allowing himself to be punished in order that we might be free to be reconciled to the Father. If the parallel isn’t perfect, it’s awfully good.
Lord, as I watch what Judah did, it shadows what is to come. I read this account, and I thank you for Jesus. He, the perfect Son of God, chose to suffer on behalf of the children of God. I thank you for this, as I know that I could never escape the wrath that I deserve without the perfect substitution of Jesus. I fully trust in him and his finished work for my eternity. I also pray that you will help me, like Judah did here, to point the world to Jesus in all that I say and do.