At the time, Judah the son of Jacob knew only that the man from whom he and his brothers had purchased sustenance in Egypt was the pharaoh’s prime minister. When that food ran out, Jacob told his sons to go back to the man and buy more.
At that point Judah reminded Jacob that this man of great authority and strange ways had solemnly warned the brothers that he would not deal with them again unless Benjamin, Jacob’s youngest, returned with them. Jacob, at the time thinking he had already lost another son (Joseph) protested in anguish of heart.
So Judah made a daring promise to his father. He volunteered to sacrifice his own welfare with these courageous and loving words: “I myself will be surety for him; from my hand you shall require him. If I do not bring him back to you and set him before you, then let me bear the blame forever.”
Perhaps you are acquainted with the outcome of the poignant account. Judah did not have to bear perpetual blame, for Benjamin was not lost. The pharaoh’s prime minister turned out to be the very Joseph whom Jacob thought to have been killed by wild animals. Joseph sent Judah, Benjamin, and all his other brothers back to their father Jacob with food and riches. He proclaimed to them that what they had meant for evil (selling Joseph into bondage), God had meant for greater good.
Another courageous elder Brother, moved by unfathomable depths of love, volunteered to be surety for the redemption of not just one, but an untold multitude of the patriarch Jacob’s spiritual descendants. Unlike Christ’s ancestor Judah, He the Root and the Offspring of David had to follow through on what He promised His Father He was willing to do.
Because of His incarnational dignity and infinite value, the prevailing Lion of the tribe of Judah was able to bear the weight of perpetual blame once for all time. His broken body and shed blood is spiritual food; Heaven’s most precious riches for those dwelling in a spiritually hungry and impoverished land.
What those who crucified Jesus meant for evil, God intended for the eternal good of many.
“For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren…” (Hebrews 2:11)