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Genesis 32:11, 33:4

Genesis 32:11, 33:4
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Gen 32:11, “Please deliver me from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau, for I fear him, that he may come and attack me…”
Gen 33:4, “But Esau ran to meet him and embraced him and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept.”

In 32:11, Jacob has every reason to believe that Esau is coming to murder him and his family….he has every reason to anticipate Esau’s wrath. And yet, when the moment comes, it is entirely the opposite. Esau runs to, embraces, falls upon, kisses, and weeps with—I believe for release of long cherished anger and joy at reunion—his brother. Truly incredible, truly unanticipated, truly anastasiform (that is, “resurrection-shaped”).

One of the ways we can draw out the anastasiform quality of this meeting is by considering the way in which it so beautifully pictures resurrection-secured reconciliation (there is no other kind). Jacob and Esau will go on to represent the two halves of humanity….those who belong to YHWH and those set at enmity with YHWH (Rom.9:13)…..and yet here—at the beginning of those two lines—we see what can and may yet be their end. There is capacity for tearful, joyful, eucatastrophic reconciliation between even the most divergent families of the human race….there is capacity for the two to become one new man, for all hostility to be overcome and for joy-filled peace to reign.

How? Only in Christ, slain and raised, who unites us all in His crucified body and reconciles us all to God on the cross and is Himself—with His resurrection—our peace (Eph. 2:13-16). But secondly, here we also see a far off and yet absolutely beautiful image of the reconciliation of man and God…..Esau (shockingly, provocatively) is in the place of God (32:10). He descends with overwhelming force and has the power to destroy…and yet, wonder of wonders, the destruction does not fall, rather there is a running to and the weeping of reconciled joy. This is the promise of the Gospel: that any who falls down in mercifully shattered dependence at the feet of the slain and risen Christ (32:26), will find their meeting with the Holy and Righteous Judge one of unlooked for, unexpected, unanticipated welcome and joy.