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  • Writer's picturePastor Hans Fiene

Matins Devotion: March 22, 2023

Once again, in our reading from Genesis, Judah shows that he is a Christian. He shows how his heart and his mind have been formed by the promise of the substitutionary atonement, the promise that God will send a savior to die in the place of those condemned to death, the promise that God will send a lamb to set the prisoners of sin free.

Yesterday, we saw how Judah displayed his faith in this promise by guaranteeing his own life to bring Benjamin home safely. And today, we see that same faith articulated a bit more clearly. As far as Judah knows, Benjamin has committed the sin of theft. Benjamin has earned punishment and condemnation for himself through this transgression of the law. But in order to please his father, innocent Judah offers to be condemned in the place of his guilty brother. More than anything in the universe, Judah’s father wants his sinful son back in his arms, safe from condemnation, and so Judah, the one who knows no sin in this situation, becomes sin for Benjamin in order to bring him back to his father. Judah can’t possibly imagine grieving his father’s soul, so he gives up everything, his own freedom, even his own life, in order to give his father joy.

In Judah’s sacrificial offer, we see something quite beautiful about your Father in heaven’s love for you. God's love for you is not robotic or generic. He doesn’t just love you the way a gardener loves the produce from his garden or the way a good king loves the citizens of his nation. God loves you with the kind of heart we see in Jacob and his love for Benjamin, a heart that grieves and twists and turns itself into knots when his children are far away from him, a heart that cannot rest until you are back in his arms. God the Father does not have a body. But if He did, the sin and condemnation you’ve piled up for yourself would have grayed the hairs on his head and planted bags under his eyes.

That’s why He sent you Christ, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the one prophesied to Abraham and Isaac in the ram. God the Father sent you His innocent Son who was condemned in your place to bring you home and make you His own forever. And Christ gladly did this. Your Lamb went uncomplaining forth to the cross because, like His father Judah, he could not bear to grieve His Father in heaven, just as He also loved you. And because of that cross, because of Christ’s bloody death and glorious resurrection, then your Father no longer grieves and weeps and mourns over you. The son who was lost is now alive. The child who was once imprisoned and condemned is free and safe in His arms, as He always willed you to be. So rejoice. Through Christ, your Father’s hairs are no longer gray because your sins are no more.

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