The Messiah Will Come from Judah

by Faith Myers

Day 6 of Advent

Today's Reading

Genesis 49:8-12

The story of Jesus is not restricted to the confines of the New Testament. Rather, Jesus always has been and always will be. John 1:1 reads that “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” and verse 14 tells us that “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

The Old Testament is more than just a compilation of old accounts before Jesus’ time on earth.

The Old Testament, time and time again, paves and points the way for the coming of the One and true Messiah, Jesus Christ, and His redemption of mankind (for He did not come to condemn the world but to save it, Jn. 3:17). Jesus’ life and resurrection are a fulfillment of the law, of the prophecies, relayed in the Old Testament.

Within this chapter of Genesis, as Jacob breathes his last breath and speaks a word over his sons, the lineage of Christ is revealed through the line of Judah.

Even though Judah’s line would not be free from enemies, he and his descendants would ultimately prevail (having their hand on the neck of their adversaries). This proves to be true, for Judah’s tribe held the right to govern and was divinely elected; God maintains Judah’s line for a purpose, and through Judah’s line comes King David and eventually King Jesus Himself.

Like a lion, Judah’s tribe is formidable and holds power, but verse 10 ends saying that this is to be true “until Shiloh comes.” Shiloh, which in Hebrew means "to whom it rightfully belongs," then is to gain the obedience of people as He comes into the world. It is the reign of Jesus that surpasses the power of Judah’s tribe, including King David’s rule, as everlasting and world-changing. Not only has Jesus’ life altered history as we know it­—He came to earth to claim His Kingdom­—but He has eternally transformed the hearts of those who follow Him. How much grander our Savior looks in comparison to the line of Judah.

So, then, how should we celebrate Christmas with this joyous revelation—that a Messiah (Jesus) came from the line of Judah, to save the world and redeem mankind?

John Calvin states that “to us it is no less useful for the confirmation of our faith to know that Christ has been not only promised but that His origin had been pointed out, as with a finger, 2,000 years before He appeared.”

This Christmas, and every day for that matter, let us not merely focus on the birth of our Savior as accounted in the New Testament (although important) but instead, let us perceive the fullness of God’s redemption—how Jesus was at the foundations of the world (Ephesians 1:4); how God redeemed His people throughout the Old Testament narrative and maintained, in His grace and love for us, a line that one day led to the Son of Man; how Jesus, the promised Messiah, died for the sins of the world and resurrected on the third day, extending His gift of salvation to all; and how, one day, He will come again.

With the fullness of God’s redemption on display, let’s choose to abide in Him and His Word daily (Jn. 15:4-5), and to live in such a way that is a testament to our Savior’s victory over sin (Galatians 5:1).