Judges 11:9-11 “Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, ‘If you bring me home again to fight against the Ammonites, and the Lord gives them over to me, I will be your head.’ And the elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, ‘The Lord will be witness between us, if we do not do as you say.’ So Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead, and the people made him head and leader over them. And Jephthah spoke all his words before the Lord at Mizpah.”
One of the miracles of the new birth is how a person’s perspective is changed as to the identity of Jesus Christ. Before a person is saved, the true identity of Jesus is hidden from their eyes. They may know some things about Him, but it is very limited. Though what they know about Jesus may be interesting to them, although they may have some curiosity about Him, they don’t understand Him. They don’t know Who He really is. Furthermore, when they use His name, it may be as little more than a curse word. They likely view those who follow Christ in the same way – a curiosity, strange, and less than they view themselves. In fact, some are moved to hatred of Christians, just as those of Jesus’ day hated Him. But then God changes their hearts.
It’s to this very thing that we have a shadow in the life of the man Jephthah, who became one of the judges of Israel, their savior from the oppression of the Ammonites. You see, we are told that Jephthah was the son of a prostitute (Judges 11:1). It was because of this that his half-brothers rejected him. We are told that “they drove Jephthah out and said to him, ‘You shall not have an inheritance in our father’s house, for you are the son of another woman’” (Judges 11:2-3). It was then that “Jephthah fled from his brothers and lived in the land of Tob, and worthless fellows collected around Jephthah and went out with him” (Judges 11:3). What an interesting parallel this is to the life of Jesus. Jesus was born of a virgin. However, many in Israel didn’t believe this about Him. They saw Him as nothing more than a bastard. One day Jesus confronted the Pharisees about their pride in having Abraham as their father. He told them that they were mistaken about their heritage (He was speaking of their spiritual heritage rather than their physical genealogy). They replied, “We are not born of sexual immorality (John 8:41),” with the implication, “like you were.” You see, Jesus, like Jephthah, “was despised and rejected of men (Isaiah 53:3).” But then, in the shadow of Jephthah, we see Israel being placed in a position of recognizing their hopeless condition against their enemies. In their desperation they look for a savior, and they see Jephthah as their only hope, for Jephthah had distinguished himself as a mighty warrior, despite their former rejection of him. This causes them to turn to him and seek his help. To this Jephthah replies “If you bring me home again to fight against the Ammonites, and the Lord gives them over to me, I will be your head.” It is only when they agree to this that Jephthah turns to them and begins his act of deliverance. It is then that Jephthah takes his own life in his hand (Judges 12:3) to bring salvation to Israel.
You see, the attack of the Ammonites against Israel was actually an act of God’s grace. It was this distress that placed them in a position of seeing things differently. Their eyes were opened to the fact that Jephthah, the one that they had despised and rejected, was really their only hope for salvation. He became to them not a bastard child, but their head, their captain, their deliverer. And so it is with anyone who would turn to Jesus for their salvation. In some way or other, God must sovereignly do a work in their lives to open their eyes to Who Jesus really is. It is God Who must open our hearts, for without this we will never turn to Christ. And while many may have a view that Jesus is a savior and may turn to Him in a time of crisis when there seems no other way out, it is only as we see Jesus as the Lord of our life that salvation will ever come. He is not just a Savior. He is the Lord. He is the very Son of God, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
So, is that your view of Him? If it is not, He is not your Savior, for you do not see Him as He is. This despised and rejected one, Whom has been despised and rejected by you and me, is the glorious God who Created the universe. He is the Savior and Lord of all. May God open our eyes to this glorious truth, that this One “Who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,. . . emptied Himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, He humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name that is above every name,so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:6-11).