I'll take full responsibility for his safety; it's my life on the line for his (Genesis 43:9, MSG)
Judah, in a powerful, beautiful way, is a "type," or picture, of Christ in today's passage. Jacob doesn't want to send his youngest son Benjamin, his only living link to his beloved Rachel, to Egypt. Judah steps in and says "my life for his, if he doesn't return safely." He later lives up to that promise, offering to remain as Joseph's slave so that Benjamin may return to their father.
The story is a picture of Jesus's "substitutionary atonement," words to say Jesus died in my place. He paid the price for my sin. It's beautiful, it's amazing, it's the reason why I have eternal life and live in God's love.
But I don't want to talk theology exclusively. Imagine the risks.
Imagine the risks God took in creating man--knowing, even before Adam drew his first breath, that he would sin and God the Son would die on the cross for the salvation of all mankind.
Imagine the risks Jacob, Benjamin, and Judah took, in allowing Benjamin to accompany his brothers to Egypt. Judah was willing to spend his remaining years in an Egyptian jail rather than allow the same fate to happen to his baby brother.
Caring for someone else involves risk. I know that risk on a personal level: I love my children, and my daughter committed suicide. My heart has been torn in two and healed over.
Today, in the most unexpected development from living in a nursing home, I have found love. As heady as the feeling is, I know I run a risk. I may watch his body and/or his mind deteriorate. The same holds true for him.
But consider the rewards. Joseph, reunited and reconciled with his family. Jesus, reconciling the world to God by the cross.
I don't know the full extent of the reward awaiting me--but I would not have missed my daughter's life for any price, nor do I wish to shut my heart to new love.
If we protect ourselves from hurt, we also shut ourselves off from joy.
Love is worth the risk.