Judah's Secret Past: Episode 1



Almighty God, nothing is hidden from your sight. We come before you with our sin and lay it at the cross. We come before you with empty hands, desiring to be filled with good things. We come before you with hearts ready to hear and receive your Word of grace. Amen. 


Matthew 1:1-3

1This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham: 2Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, 3Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar, Perez the father of Hezron, Hezron the father of Ram.

A few years ago my family and I got interested in a TV series titled “Arrow.”  In short, it’s about a man named Oliver Queen.  In his younger days he was an arrogant, spoiled, billionaire playboy. And everybody knew it.  But then the yacht was lost at sea and he was stranded and spent five torturous years on an island.  He returned home a changed man, determined to clean up the city that he called home.  Yet, the truth remained, as good and as helpful as he was trying to be, he still had a secret past that came back to haunt him from time to time.

Jesus’ family has secrets in it too, secrets that they wanted to keep hidden.  Today and tomorrow, we’re going to look at some of the secrets in one of Jesus’ ancestors, Judah.  Judah’s past was full of many dark secrets.  The Bible tells us about two of them.  

The first one is written in Genesis 37 and it goes like this.  Jacob had twelve sons, but he had a favorite son. His name was Joseph. He gave him a special, colorful, beautiful coat.  But his brothers hated him and wanted to get rid of him.  And even though Judah wasn’t the oldest brother, he took the lead in trying to get rid of his brother.

At first, the brothers just wanted to kill Joseph.  But then Judah came along and said, “What will we gain if we kill our brother and cover up his blood? Come, let’s sell him; after all, he is our brother” (Genesis 37:26-27).   Judah was the leader in selling his brother for a couple of dollars. He kept it from his father and this sin haunted him much the rest of his life. 

It’s quite a story of betrayal.  It’s quite a story of a coverup.  It’s quite a story of sin.

It’s also quite a story of grace.  It is the story of God’s grace to forgive this betrayer.  It is a story of God’s grace to use this betrayer to bring salvation to the world.

Stay tuned for episode 2 of Judah’s secret past.

Additional Reading: Genesis 37:12-36 

Family Questions:

1.     What did Judah do that was wrong?  

2.    Do you think that he wanted the whole world to know about it? Why?

3.    Have you ever done something that you don’t want people to know about?

4.    John the Baptist said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of world”(John 1:29).  What did he tell us that Jesus did with all our sins, even our secret ones?

Going Deeper:

1.     Read the story of Judah.  This sin (and others) haunted him long into his future.  He was always scared that God was going to pay him back for it. David prayed, “Remember not the sins of my youth or my rebellious ways” (Psalm 25:7). 

2.    How do the sins of your past haunt you?  

3.    When are the times that you remember those sins?

4.    What do you need to remember in the times when your sins haunt you?


Merciful Lord, how often our sins come back to haunt us and Satan wants to doubt your full and free forgiveness. Lead us back to the cross of Jesus every day to see our sin, guilt, and shame all nailed there – forgiven. It is finished!  You have declared it so. We are holy in your sight, and heirs of eternal life. Thank you for this peace only you can give our hearts and minds. Amen.