When Jesus Answered Job

Job was a man loaded with burdens. In one day he lost his flocks, his herds, and his children. Soon thereafter he lost his health and the confidence of his wife. The greatest burden, however, was his friends’ challenge of his righteousness before God. Job’s attempts to maintain his integrity fill much of the book that bears his name.
How could Job establish his righteousness before God and mankind? That’s the essential meaning of his questions in Job 9:32-35: “For he [God] is not a man, as I am, that I may answer him, and that we should go to court together. Nor is there any mediator between us, who may lay his hand on us both. Let him take his rod away from me, and do not let dread of him terrify me. Then I would speak and not fear him, but it is not so with me” (NKJV).
Job’s frustration is understandable. He wanted to show to God and his friends that he was honest in proclaiming his innocence. But how can a mere mortal stand in the presence of the Almighty God? God is so exalted and transcendent — it’s a fantasy for a human to desire an audience with the Creator. Or so Job thought.
Such frustrating thoughts were vanquished when Jesus came to earth to live in a tabernacle of flesh. Because he (as God) experienced the whole range of human suffering and emotions, he is eminently qualified to serve as mediator. Paul proclaimed this good news in 1 Timothy 2:5: “For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” No longer can Job or his kin complain that “he is not a man, as I am.” Any doubts of divine understanding have been answered. Jesus has responded to the despair of Job.
The writer of Hebrews also stated the truth: “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:15,16). Our assurance of heavenly grace is made more sure because of Jesus’ journey on earth.
Did Jesus need to live on earth in order to understand our needs? Does this doctrine suggest there was a deficiency in God’s understanding prior to the incarnation? We’re not prepared to argue that point. But we know absolutely that Jesus’ physical sojourn was necessary for man’s peace of mind. Had our Lord not lived as we live, how could we ever have been sure that he understands?
[For more meditations on thoughts like this, this writer recommends G. Campbell Morgan’s “The Answers Of Jesus To Job”, first published in 1935.]

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Tim Hall

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