Genesis 44 — No Greater Love

by | Oct 5, 2020

READ Genesis 44

“Now please let your servant remain here as my lord’s slave, in place of the boy. Let him go back with his brothers.” (Genesis 44:33)

When the cup is found in Benjamin’s bag, the brothers tear their clothes, as Jacob did years ago. Judah says, “God has exposed your servants’ iniquity.” Look, Judah is confessing to their maltreatment of Joseph, believing that it is right that he and the brothers should suffer. Then Joseph replicates the brothers’ situation twenty-two years earlier as close as possible. He invites them to return home without Benjamin. How should they respond?

What follows is the longest and most emotional speech in Genesis. The deepest love for his dad motivates Judah, who speaks a point-for-point undoing. Twenty-two years earlier, Judah schemed with his brothers to sell Joseph into slavery; now he offers himself as a slave so that the other son of Rachel can be freed. Twenty-two years earlier, he silently watched when they brought the bloodied coat to Jacob who mourned in anguish; now he is speaking up in order that he does not see his father suffer again. Judah feels so much love for his father that he begs to give up himself for a brother who is more loved than himself. And this breaks down Joseph’s last defenses.

Why does this story not only tug at the heart of Joseph but also our hearts? Jesus said, “No one has greater love than this: to lay down his life for his friends.” Judah exemplifies this greatest act of love. In doing so, he prepared the way for Jesus himself, who would substitute himself not for one man but for all those put their trust in Him. As Judah promised Joseph to bear the blame for Benjamin, Jesus pledged his own life on the cross for our sake. 

If God’s grace could transform a person like Judah who was guilty of some terrible things (Gen. 37-38), do you believe He can change your life to be more like Jesus too? Don’t doubt it.

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