All the Bible is God shouting to us, “This is my beloved Son with whom I am well pleased.” Unfortunately we like the disciples want to build altars to Moses and Elijah. Judah impresses us here, but don’t settle for second hand glory. Let his moonlight excite you to discover the source.
One image Scripture uses to speak of Christ is that He is our True Elder Brother. He is the firstborn among many brothers (Romans 8:29). We are fellow heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17). As we survey Genesis brotherly love is profoundly absent. The first brotherly relationship ends in fratricide. This last section is titled “the generations of Jacob” (Genesis 37:2). It is about these brothers, the nation of Israel in embryo. In the ESV “brother” occurs ninety-nine times in this last section. As we come to the close of this book brotherly love is restored. And oh how gloriously God does it.
Instead of taking life, a brother will give up his life. He will pay the penalty for the “guilty” and suffer the consequences. He will suffer bondage that the “thief” may go free (Genesis 44:32-33). Which brother does this? The brother who previously pragmatically suggested they fully benefit from Joseph plight. He wanted to keep their wallets fat and their consciences light (Genesis 37:26-27). Now his conscience is stricken, out of love for his father (Genesis 44:34). Likely having lost two sons of his own has put his heart in tune with his father’s. Who is this brother? Judah, who is to become the kingly tribe (Genesis 49:10), the tribe of David, from which the Messiah will come, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah.
God, to magnify His Son, “exorcises” the “spirit of Cain” from the brothers and fills them with the Spirit of Christ. He not only is relocating them from Canaan to Egypt, but from Enoch (the city built by Cain in Genesis 4:17) to Philadelphia.
We are not types of Christ as Judah was, but God’s providence is nonetheless at work to conform us to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29). He disciplines us as sons to make us look like the Son.