Revelation 5:5: “And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.”
Genesis 49:9-10 “Judah is a lion's whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up? The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.” The base conduct and sordid actions of Jacob’s son, Judah, is at times offensive. Judah participated in kidnaping his younger brother and selling him into slavery. He forsakes his family, the covenant people of God, and marries a Canaanite woman, a member of the people who are enemies of the descendants of Israel. After the death of his wife he commits fornication with a woman he believes to be a prostitute (Genesis 37:26; 38:1-26). However, the story of God is of one who is notable for saving and transforming messed-up people like Judah.
Judah’s transformation begins when he acknowledges his fornication and hypocrisy (Genesis 38:26). Afterwards, in a series of events orchestrated by God, Judah returns to his family and cares for their needs, defends and protects them from harm and takes the leadership role over the family he had earlier betrayed (Genesis 43:8-10; 44:16-34; 46:28).
Judah’s transformation is not meant to be a narrative extolling human ability and the remorseful efforts of a man to undue the wrongs that he was responsible for. Instead, Judah’s experience is an illustrative demonstration of the glorious power that flows from Jesus Christ as told in the story of salvation within the Bible. The redemptive story is the narrative of how God proceeds to save His people in history through the person and work of Jesus Christ. As God incarnate, Jesus Christ is from the lineage of Judah; Judah is an ancestor of the Savior. Genesis, the book that recounts Judah’s life, is framed with an emphasis on lineages and descendants that makes it possible to trace Jesus’s life back to the lineage of Judah (Genesis 49:8-12; Matthew 1:3-6, 18). The salvation that Judah, and all the redeemed of God experience, originates with the death of Jesus on the cross. Paul wrote in Romans 8:32:
"He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?"
Like Judah, our transformation and salvation is based upon the death of Christ that secured radical grace and transforming power and is given to all that are enabled by faith to look to Him for righteousness and salvation.