More than forty men, yet one Author.
Sixty-six books, yet one Word.
Centuries old, yet speaking today.
Every once in a while, I get to follow a scarlet thread through the Scriptures that reminds me how our God teaches amidst His own incomprehensibility, leading me to the cross. In full disclosure, I was reading through a commentary with the text of Hebrews 7 this morning; so no, I didn’t spot this thread on my own. I’m thankful daily that there have been devoted folks who have gone before me to mine the precious gems of Scripture for my understanding.
“This makes Jesus the guarantor of a better covenant.” (Hebrews 7:22 ESV)
“I will be a pledge of his safety. 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…” (Genesis 43:19 ESV)
“For your servant became a pledge of safety for the boy to my father, saying, ‘If I do not bring him back to you, then I shall bear the blame before my father all my life.'” (Genesis 44:32 ESV)
In the Genesis account, Joseph, once lost to his family but now sitting in a prominent position in Egypt unbeknownst to his own brothers, requests to see his younger brother Benjamin. Jacob was not pleased to send his youngest son having already lost Joseph. Judah stands in the gap to assure his father of Benjamin’s safety. I will be a pledge. Judah becomes a guarantor of the boy’s safety. He shoulders the responsibility of bringing his brother home.
Fast forward a couple thousand years to see Jesus, now standing as the Lion of the tribe of Judah. The writer of Hebrews describes Him as the guarantor, the pledge of a better covenant. Through the text of Genesis, It’s as if we get a glimpse of the eternal conversation of the Father and the Son. Jesus stands in the gap, pledging Himself to be the eternal safeguard for undeserving sinners. I will bring them back.
My heart jumps when I read this.
I love when my heart jumps as I read.
How does this filter into my everyday life?
“So if you consider me your partner, receive him as you would receive me. If he has wronged you at all, or owes you anything, charge that to my account. I, Paul, write this with my own hand: I will repay it – to say nothing of your owing me even your own self.” (Philemon 1:18 ESV)
These are the words of a man, saved by the gospel of grace, standing in the gap. Paul stands a guarantor for the debt of a brother. In a situation where, by all rights, Paul is owed the life of the creditor, he instead chooses to shoulder the liability of the debtor. This is Jesus, by the power of the Holy Spirit, at work in a sinner’s heart.
Only grace can motivate such love-soaked sacrifice clothed in godly purity.
Who in your periphery stands as a debtor? Who is lying down in defeat? Who needs a word of encouragement, the simplest of gifts, or even just the presence of a friend? Holy Spirit, open our eyes that we might see!
May we all be moved and maintained by the Surety of our safety, the Guarantor of the covenant that sets prisoners free, to stand in the gap for our brothers and sisters. May we do so boldly, risking our very selves, humbled first by the sacrifice He laid on our behalf, and second trusting that Jesus has pledged to bring home all those whom the Father has given Him.
“For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” (John 6:38-40 ESV)