Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Surprised by Grace

I’ve always loved the story of Joseph in the book of Genesis. And what I love is how he’s not made out to be some saint, but a rather naively obnoxious young man, or teenager, who pushes his brothers too far. They plot revenge, and get it.

In The Grace of God, Andy Stanley tells the story of Joseph in narrative fashion, but he also tells the story of Judah, the brother who convinced his siblings to sell Joseph as a slave, who lied to his father, and who neglected the duty he had to his daughter-in-law. Judah comes across as a rather lying weasel.

And yet, of all of the sons of Jacob, it is Judah who receives the kingly blessing from his father. It is Judah whose descendant will be King David. And it is Judah whose blood will run in the veins of Jesus.

In human terms, it doesn’t compute. Judah behaved like a creep. Judah was a creep. Shouldn’t the kingly blessing have gone to Joseph, or perhaps to Reuben, the oldest?

It goes to Judah. In one sense, Judah was the most undeserving of all the sons of Jacob.

And yet the line to the Messiah runs through Judah.

Perhaps that’s the point, the surprising point.

Perhaps Judah was chosen to be the line of the Messiah, the kingly or royal line, precisely because he was such a creep. Perhaps God took the most unexpected brother to lead down to the Messiah. Perhaps this isn’t about merit at all, but about grace. Perhaps that’s the point of the story – Judah was chosen because he didn’t deserve it.

And I think, perhaps we are chosen because we don’t serve it.

Led by Jason Stayszsen and Sarah Salter, we’re discussing The Grace of God each Wednesday. For the links to more posts on this chapter, “Surprised by Grace,” please visit Jason at Connecting to Impact.


Mary Harwell Sayler said...

Good article. Thanks, Glynn. What I love about Judah is that, when he wronged Tamar, he admitted it, rather than lying or covering up as his ancestors had done. Also love how he foreshadowed Christ by offering himself as surety for Benjamin's release.

jasonS said...

I had no idea how to condense Joseph's and Judah's story down and still present the message of grace, but you did such a wonderful job. It's so funny to me how I can "get it" one day and totally miss it another. We never deserve grace. If we get what we deserve, it's not grace--we just earned what we went after. I want a life of receiving and giving true grace. Thanks Glynn.

JofIndia said...

Though one of the many striking things in Genesis is how often the first born son was passed over, in preference to a younger brother..