Bearfruit in keeping with repentance
What is repentance? What does a true change of heart look like? John the Immerser told some who came to him, Bear fruit in keeping with repentance (Matthew 3:8), meaning that even before a confession to repentance is accepted, it must be proven with works documenting the statement.
In order to save their skin and inheritance, Joseph’s brothers did not hesitate to sell him breaking his and their father’s heart. As a foreshadow of Messiah, Joseph was sold to the gentiles upon whom he eventually became ruler. Many years later during a famine that threatened to extinguish their family, Joseph’s brothers sought help from Egypt. Unbeknownst to them, they had to deal with the Egyptian Viceroy who by a twist of ‘fate’ (so-called!) was actually Joseph, who chose the opportune moment to test his brother’s hearts.
Through a well orchestrated ruse, Benjamin, Joseph’s full biological brother, was accused of stealing the Viceroy’s special cup. The Egyptian wanted to keep Benjamin as a slave, but Judah won’t stand for it and pleads for his brother. Judah takes the lead and pleads for the uncomforted heart of his father who still mourns Joseph’s loss. He pleads and offers his own self as a substitute for Benjamin’s, the brother who in fact did not sell Joseph. To his father Judah had said, 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 43:9), and to the Viceroy he now says, how can I go back to my father if the boy is not with me? I fear to see the evil that would find my father (Genesis 44:33-34)." It is at this moment that Joseph finally decides to reveal himself to his brothers (Genesis 45:1-3).
Even so today, while gentiles have acknowledged Him as Messiah, Yeshua’s true identity is hidden from his brethren, the Sons of Israel. Even today messianic believers in Israel suffer intense harassment and persecution from a small but very vocal minority of their brother Judah called the Haredim. The question we must ask ourselves is, will there be a test? Will there be a test where the ‘Judah’ community of those who refused Joseph/Messiah’s leadership and therefore sold him for silver in the end will at great cost come to the rescue of the ‘Benjamin’ community, of the messianic believers sons of Israel who believed in Joseph/Messiah and did not sell him away?
The Israeli government is facing difficult choices about this issue. Will there be a time in the future when ‘Judah’ is fully put to the test? Judging from the story of Joseph it seems to be a plausible course of events. May at that time ‘Judah’, the repentant formerly unbelieving brother, make the right choice showing his true repentance by making right choices concerning ‘Benjamin’, his messianic believer younger brother rather than break his Father’s heart again!
May it be soon Abba, even in our days!