A Portrait of Jesus in the Book of Job

After the Resurrection, Jesus taught his disciples how the Old Testament pointed to himself  (Luke 24:27). Today I want to look at an overlooked passage in the book of Job that contains a strong picture of Christ’s work on our behalf.

Job 16:18-21

We begin in chapter 16, where Job responds to his friends’ comments on why he is suffering. Despite their best efforts, Job calls them “miserable comforters.” Additionally, Job feels like God has turned him over to the wicked. He feels like he is being torn apart from all sides and has nowhere else to turn. So he cries out,  

O earth, cover not my blood, and let my cry find no resting place” (18).

In other words, “Don’t allow the pain that I have experienced or my plea for help to be overlooked.” He continues,

Even now, behold, my witness is in heaven, and he who testifies for me is on high” (19).

Job sees a witness in heaven who is testifying on his behalf. Job’s friends continue to scorn him (20). But even when everyone on earth seems to be against him, he knows there is someone in heaven who is for him. The next verse explains more about what this witness is doing:

“that he would argue the case of a man with God, as a son of man does with his neighbor” (21). 

This witness has the audacity to defend a man before God Almighty as if having a casual conversation with a neighbor! This leads us to an obvious question.

Who is this Witness?

Who can stand before God in heaven and plead for a man? Who can talk to God like a person talks to his neighbor? Who has this kind of authority and this kind of relationship with God? Let’s think about some candidates.

Is this witness God the Father? No, because this witness is pleading Job’s case to the Father.

Is this witness a human being? No, because a mere man doesn’t have the authority to defend someone else before God.

An angel? Possibly, but where do we find angels talking to God like a neighbor? And how often do we see an angel advocating for a man?

It seems to me that this witness is higher than an angel and yet is able to relate to men. And it seems to me that no person in Scripture fits this description better than Jesus. As Paul says,

There is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time” (1 Timothy 2:5-6). 

Now, there doesn’t appear to be any New Testament passages that tie Job 16:18-21 to Jesus specifically, so I don’t think we can be dogmatic about it. But either way, this witness is a wonderful picture of Christ and his ministry of intercession for us!

Call to Motion

Sometimes the best response to Scripture is meditation. We must pause and take time out of our busy lives to think deeply about the truths of God. So what does it mean to say that Christ intercedes on our behalf?

When we sin against God, we know that “we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1).

When our cries seem unanswered, our friends have abandoned us, and our problems have consumed us, we have a witness on high who is for us.

When our faith is weak, we can rest in the truth that Jesus “is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25).

So take comfort in this reality today. Rest in the finished work of Christ and know that Jesus is interceding for you at this very moment.

 

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