The Book of Job - Lesson 39

The Theology of Job (Part 3)

Job tells us about the heavenly mediator. Prior to his afflictions, Job’s life was almost god-like because he was relatively free of suffering. Job through his affliction, faces the problem of evil and the enormity of suffering in the human race. Even though some people commit evil and violent acts, Job describes them in pitiful terms.

Duane Garrett
The Book of Job
Lesson 39
Watching Now
The Theology of Job (Part 3)

I. Prior to His Affliction, He Was Almost God-like in Being Relatively Free of Suffering

A. The ground Job walked on prospered

B. People fell silent in his presence

C. He put on righteousness as a garment

D. He punished the wicked

E. He cared for people who were suffering

F. Eyes to the blind and feet to the lame

II. Job Had No Firsthand Experience of Suffering Until He Experienced Calamity

A. Job now knows what it means to suffer

B. Job spoke with compassion for common sinners {see contrast of high and low status at 15 minutes to 16 minutes]

III. The Need for a Mediator and Redeemer

A. Job wanted a mediator to plead his case

B. We know that Jesus is the mediator between God and humans

C. Job became aware of human suffering by experiencing it

D. Characteristics of a mediator

  • When you see what you would describe as evil and injustice in the world, how does that affect your view of God? When someone is suffering, do you assume that it’s because they are getting what they deserve? This lecture gives you an overview of book of Job by describing his situation, how he interacts with his friends and God, and what we can learn about how God is managing the world.

  • Because there is nothing specific in the text that tells you when the book of Job was written, the sections in Job that allude to other passages of scripture give you some helpful clues. The structure of the book of Job focuses your attention on the main subject of the book which is God’s wisdom.

  • Other cultures in the ancient near east created literature with themes that are similar to the book of Job. The book of Job is unique because of his character and the answer that the book provides for the situation he is in.

  • Job is one of the wisdom books of the Old Testament. It covers more “advanced” topics than Proverbs and uses a variety of literary genres and allusions to other Biblical passages to explain and illustrate profound truths about God’s nature and his involvement in the world.

  • There is limited information in the book of Job about its geographical and historical background. However, it can be helpful to understand general information about the geography and history of the area to give you a context for reading and studying the book of Job. The author of the book of Job was a Hebrew poet who had an extensive vocabulary. Being uncertain about history and geography is good because the message is timeless.

  • Job contains literary elements that are similar to what you find in other Biblical books that are Apocalyptic. These elements include depictions of events in heaven and on earth, the emphasis on specific numbers and persevering in your faith in God, the references to mythological animals and God’s supernatural control of all events. 

  • Satan appears before God with an accusation against Job. Even though Job is described as, “upright and blameless,” Satan accuses Job of serving God only because Job is prosperous. God allows Satan to take away Job’s possessions, children and health. The remainder of the book is the dialogue of Job and his friends attempting to determine why this is happening.

  • Job curses the day he was born. When you carefully examine what he is saying, you realize that it is more intense than just saying that he wished he had never lived.

  • Eliphaz begins tactfully in his remarks to Job. He did not intend to do harm. However, he thinks God is causing Job to suffer because of a sin Job committed. He speaks accurately of the justice of God, but in Job’s case he misapplies it. He also gives a message he received from the, “night spirit.”

  • Eliphaz considers the message of the, “night spirit” a revelation from God. However, at it’s core, this message is inconsistent with God’s attitude toward Job, and creation in general.

  • Job’s theological worldview has fallen apart because he knows he doesn’t deserve to suffer. Eliphaz calls Job to repent. Job responds questioning why he is suffering, because according to his worldview, he hasn’t done anything to deserve it.   

  • Bildad is direct is his rebuke and admonition of Job. He uses metaphors to get his point across.

  • When Job’s friends describe God as all powerful in an attempt to comfort Job, he becomes terrified because he sees God as causing his suffering and there is nothing that can stop it.

  • Zophar assumes that Job is being punished because he sinned and accuses him of mocking God. Job's three friends move from tactful suggestions to open hostility. As Job is searching for answers, he becomes disappointed in his friends.

  • Job agrees with his friends that God is causing his suffering, but disagrees with them about why it’s happening. Job believes that God will eventually vindicate him.

  • Eliphaz appeals to the night spirit and the tradition of the elders to tell Job that he is a babbling and blaspheming fool.

  • Job begins by criticizing what his friends are saying to him and then professes his faith in God. Bildad responds harshly to Job.

  • Even though Job’s friends have criticized him, he has grown in his faith in God. Job is worn out and begs for compassion. When he gets nothing but contempt and hostility instead, he confesses his faith and hope in God. The messianic theology of Job is different from any other book of the Bible.  

  • Zophar uses metaphors that are found in other passages of scripture as well as Job’s own words to accuse Job of being wicked. However, Zophar made a serious error, which we need to avoid in our lives.

  • Job continues to wrestle with the presence of evil in the world and the apparent injustice of God. 

  • Eliphaz attacks Job as being wicked by twisting the meaning of what Job has said previously. The irony is that Job will be reconciled to God and will pray for Eliphaz.

  • Job wants to lay out his case before God by claiming his innocence. Job says that God is hidden and does as he chooses, but that God neither judges the guilty nor helps the righteous. Bildad responds by contrasting God’s holiness and human lowliness.

  • Job sarcastically thanks the friends for their wise words, which he doesn’t think were wise at all.

  • This is a poem about wisdom that divides the content of the book and points to a deep truth. It is inserted by the author of the book and is not attributed to Job or the friends.

  • The crisis that Job is experiencing is not just the material losses and physical suffering, but also his crisis of faith. He thought he understood what his relationship with God is all about but he feels that God has abandoned him for no apparent reason. Job laments the pain he feels from being disgraced and humiliated.

  • This is the last major statement that Job makes, other than his responses to God that come later. Job is taking a series of oaths that he has not committed any of the sins he mentions. The Bible is distinctive in declaring that all people are created equally, in the image of God. In ancient cultures, some people intrinsically have more value than others because of heritage, wealth, gender, race, etc. God looks on everyone impartially.  

  • Elihu is not mentioned either before or after his speech. He claims to be perfect in knowledge. Elihu thinks that the other three did not convince Job because they did not give a satisfactory answer, but Elihu ends up repeating what they have already said. He thinks that the doctrine of retribution is the answer to Job’s situation. Elihu is a warning to us that we don’t have all the answers.

  • The questions of the book of Job are, “How does God address the problem of evil and why do we serve God? God created a world that is stable and not chaotic. Where there was chaos, God brought in light, shape and beauty. Chaotic forces are necessary for life and God controls them.

  • People in ancient Mesopotamia lived in constant fear of the chaos, danger, ferocity of nature and they valued subduing, controlling and pushing back nature. Wilderness was something to be tamed and pushed back by civilization. In the Gilgamesh epic poem, Enkidu is transformed into a civilized man who protects the domestic animals from the wild animals. In Egypt, there were gods of the Black Land and gods of the Red Land. God sees everything in the world as entirely under his control.

  • God’s care for the animals and how this relates to the problem of Job. All of the things that we see as chaos, and out of control depend on God and thrive because he provides for them and things that he manages and glories in. God describes nature as good, unlike the night spirit that describes it with contempt and loathing. God knows how to manage the chaotic elements of creation.

  • The societies of the Ancient Near East had a high concept of justice. It was the duty of the rulers to uphold justice and protect the powerless. If you are a man who leads, you need to make sure that evil is held in check. Listen to people who come to you with a grievance. God is asking Job if he comprehends what it means to bring justice to the world. It involves both power and wisdom.

  • Behemoth is the plural form of a Hebrew word that refers to animals in general also specifically to wild animals. In Job, it’s also used as a metaphor representing the composite forces of the powers of the earth that are against God.

  • Behemoth is a dangerous power that God must reckon with. Some people think this is an allusion to animals that God created in Genesis 1:24. “Lady Wisdom” is the wisdom that God built into creation. Behemoth is dangerous and a force to be reckoned with, not the embodiment of good behavior. One aspect of principalities and powers is forces outside of the world we can see. In Revelation, God protects people from the fury and wrath of the beast, which is an oppressive power that seeks to take the place of God.  

  • Job 41 describes Leviathan. Leviathan is not a natural animal like a crocodile. Sometimes Leviathan refers to a large sea creature, and sometimes death, chaos and the embodiment of evil. Satan is present at the first of the book but he is never mentioned again. In order for God to deal with evil in the world, he must defeat Leviathan.

  • Leviathan is a ferocious creature that no human can subdue. God is saying that he is willing to oppose Leviathan and  is not frightened of Leviathan or intimidated by his boasting. God is the one who will defeat this enemy who seems unbeatable to humans. God tells Job that he will deal with Leviathan but God doesn’t tell him how he will do it. Job embraced God’s answer even though Job didn’t know how God would deal with evil.

  • Job announces that he has changed his outlook on evil, God’s governance of the world and his own suffering. Job knew that God is all-powerful. Now Job knows something more about how God uses his power. Should God be merciful to people who will still be evil? Eschatological is an event that can only happen by a work of God. Emergence of divine power within the historical context. Job admits that he didn’t understand the complexity that is involved in God conquering evil. God forgives Job’s three friends because Job interceded for them. God is showing his approval with job by publicly restoring him.

  • Job’s suffering brought him to a new understanding of who God is and what God is doing in the world. Job’s hope, and our hope, is in a heavenly redeemer that rose from the dead. Legalism comes about often when people hold to essential teachings but they don’t know God. They substitute the rules for relationship.

  • Job mentions composite animals similar to those described in other apocalyptic passages. Job had faith that God would do a work of salvation but didn’t understand everything that Jesus would do. There is a hidden plan of God to redeem people and conquer evil that is a major theme in apocryphal books and also in Job.

  • Job tells us about the heavenly mediator. Prior to his afflictions, Job’s life was almost god-like because he was relatively free of suffering. Job through his affliction, faces the problem of evil and the enormity of suffering in the human race. Even though some people commit evil and violent acts, Job describes them in pitiful terms.

  • Should virtue, or piety, be disinterested? If it’s not done for it’s own sake, is it real? Job’s love for God is not disinterested, but it is real.

If God is good and powerful, why do you see suffering in the world? Why do you serve God even when you experience suffering? How do you respond to others when they ask these questions? How have you answered them for yourself? These are such important questions that the entire book of Job is devoted discussing only these issues in the context of the perspective of the experiences of one person. 

The theme of the book of Job is timeless and singular. There are clues about its geographical and historical setting but nothing in the book itself that identifies the place or time of its writing. However, the setting is irrelevant because the questions that are addressed in the Book of Job are ones that people have asked in all cultures, throughout time. It would be distracting and even limiting to frame the dialogue in a specific time or culture. There are enough clues in the text to give you a general idea of the culture and time it was written in to help you understand the logic and metaphors used by the main characters in their dialogue. 

The complete book of Job is composed of the dialogue of Job, his friends and God regarding the issues of God's goodness, his power, and evil in the world. No historical events. No other personal, corporate or theological issues. Since these questions are central to your understanding of God's character and how he works in the world around us throughout history, the book of Job compels you to consider this question deeply and exhaustively. The point is that by the end of the book, you can understand and articulate who God is and how he works in your life and in the world. 

The value of this class is that Dr. Garrett helps you understand what the text means, the historical and theological implications, and how you apply it to your life. Dr. Garrett's knowledge of the Bible, understanding of the Hebrew language and background in Ancient Near Eastern history and culture inform his insights into the message of the book and what it means to you. He is skilled at explaining technical linguistic and theological issues in a way that helps you comprehend them and see how they apply to your life. Whether you are just beginning in your study of the Bible or you have had training at an advanced academic level, studying the Book of Job with Dr. Garrett has the potential change the way you understand God and also how you live each day. 

Recommended Books

The Book of Job: A Biblical Answer to Pain - Student Guide

The Book of Job: A Biblical Answer to Pain - Student Guide

This Student's Guide is for the class on The Book of Job in BiblicalTraining.org. It contains the outlines to the lectures, a summary of each point, and reflection...

The Book of Job: A Biblical Answer to Pain - Student Guide


We have been discussing various issues related to the message of Job and particularly to its meaning for us and its relationship to the New Testament. We
are going to continue in that now and we are going to consider in a little more detail what Job tells us about the heavenly mediator.

First of all, however, we need to remind ourselves of something. Job through his affliction comes to face the problem of evil and the enormity of suffering in the human race.

I. Prior to His Affliction, He Was Almost God-like in Being Relatively Free of Suffering

A. The ground Job walked on prospered

When we look at Job prior to his afflictions and then during his afflictions, a very striking pattern emerges. Job tells us for example in chapter 29, verse 6. Let me read it for you: “My path was drenched with cream and the rock poured out for me streams of olive oil.” Then in verses 18-20: “I thought, ‘I will die in my house, my days as numerous a the grains of the sand. My roots will reach to the water and the dew will lie all night on my branches. My glory will not fade and the bow will ever be new in my hand.’”

If you are familiar with ancient mythology, the idea of “everywhere his foot steps, oil and cream comes out,” of course it is a metaphor in Job, but it is a God-like function. For example, the Greek God Dionysius was the god of fertility and abundance and of course he is associated with wine. Wherever Dionysius went, if he wanted to, grape vines could simply sprout up and bear fruit immediately. It was all around him. So when Job describes himself as having oil and wine just bubble up wherever he lays his foot, and when Job describes himself as having abundance and fertility and long life and prosperity, he almost sounds god-like from the standpoint of an ancient person.

B. People fell silent in his presence

Notice also what he says about himself in this same chapter in Job 29:8-10: “The young men saw me and stepped aside and the old men rose to their feet; the chief men refrained from speaking and covered their mouths with their hands; the voices of the nobles were hushed, and their tongues stuck to the roof of their mouths.” In other words, everyone fell piously silent whenever Job was near. He was so revered that people would shut their mouths when he stepped by. Yes, he was very honored; but again, it is almost a god-like honoring. He is so high and lofty that people don’t even say anything, they just fall silent in his presence.

C. He put on righteousness as a garment

We read also in verse 14: “I put on righteousness as my clothing; justice was my robe and my turban.” In Job this is a metaphor. Job is saying, “I was a very
righteous man.” And so when he speaks of righteousness as his clothing as a metaphor, it simply means that Job was so righteous that when you looked at
him, what you saw was righteousness; just as with us, when you look at us, what you see is our clothing. For Job, it’s just a metaphor saying “I was a very, very righteous man.” But the language of righteousness as his clothing is quite striking.

Here is what Isaiah says about God in Isaiah chapter 59 verse 17: “He put on righteousness as his breastplate and the helmet of salvation on his head. He put on the garments of vengeance and wrapped himself in zeal as in a cloak.” We can see some echoes of this also in Ephesians of course. But what I want to get across at this point is the idea of being wrapped in garments or armored in garments of righteousness and power are in Isaiah a characteristic of God. Again, Job is described almost as though he were god-like.

D. He punished the wicked

Then we read again back in chapter 29 in verse 17: “I broke the fangs of the wicked and snatched the victims from their teeth.” Job was a powerful man and
as a powerful man with a lot of influence, as an elder in his community, no doubt he had what we would call judicial duties. He would serve as a magistrate or as a juror and he would have a part in punishing the wicked. From that standpoint there is nothing miraculous about this. He is not claiming divine power. But the language of “breaking the teeth of the wicked” and “triumphing over them” of “bringing the evil to justice,” is again a kind of god-like function.

So for example, we read in the book of Psalms, chapter 3, verse 7:”Arise, Lord! Deliver me, my God! Strike all my enemies on the jaw; break the teeth of the

So we see here Job actually using the same metaphor for himself that is used of God in the Psalm, that God breaks the teeth of the wicked, and so does Job.

E. He cared for people who were suffering

Job was not cruel or indifferent to the suffering of people. He instead nurtured the poor, the fatherless and the widows. We see this in chapter 29, verses 12 and 13: “I rescued the poor who cried for help, the fatherless who had none to assist them. The one who was dying blest me; I made the widow’s heart sing.” Again, there is nothing divine strictly speaking about this. It is the task of a righteous man to take care of widows and orphans throughout the Old Testament. So that of itself is not unusual. But he presents himself again as the one who is kind of the savior of the weak and the lowly, which ultimately is the task of God, who is the father to the fatherless.

F. Eyes to the blind and feet to the lame

Similarly, Job certainly could not miraculously heal, but he says of himself in verse 15 of chapter 29: “I was eyes to the blind and feet to the lame.” So he could not literally heal the blind or make the lame to walk; but he presents himself as someone who was such a helper to them, that it was as if he could give them eyes.

II. Job Had No Firsthand Experience of Suffering Until He Experienced Calamity

Let’s be clear what I am saying. I am not saying Job claimed to be God or that he in any way thought of himself as god-like. What I am saying, however, is the language of Job has so many echoes of divine power and divine prerogative, you can’t help but notice it. You can’t help but see the similarities between how Job lived and what he was, and things that are said of deity.

All he meant was that he was righteous before God, he was prosperous and he was compassionate and he did everything that a righteous man should do. But if Job had some, if we can call it, shortcoming at this time, it was in fact in his god-like status. Job was so high and so powerful, Job was so blest that I don’t think he could fully understand what it was to be poor, to be oppressed, to be weak. I don’t mean to say that he is not telling the truth when he says he was compassionate toward them and that he strove to help them. What I am saying is, it’s one thing to be compassionate to the poor, it’s another thing to experience it yourself. It’s one thing to minister to the sick and the suffering; it’s another thing to be sick and suffering yourself.

A. Job now knows what it means to suffer

Once Job has come to the point that he has fallen from his god-like status, that he now fully is engaged in what it is to be human and mortal and weak, here is what he says: “Man born of woman, short on days, but glutted with vexation.” In other words, he can now really say in no uncertain terms what it is to be human and what it is to be in pain. When he is impoverished, when he is twisted with physical agony, he becomes the voice of all who live in such a condition.

Let’s remind ourselves very briefly of what he says in chapter 24:5: “Like wild donkeys in the desert, the poor go about their labor foraging food; the wasteland provides food for their children. They gather fodder in the fields and glean in the vineyards of the wicked. Lacking clothes, they spend their night naked; they have nothing to cover themselves in the cold. They are drenched by mountain rains and hug the rocks for lack of shelter. The fatherless child is snatched from the breast; the infant of the poor is seized for a debt. Lacking clothes, they go about naked ; they carry the sheaves, but still go hungry. They crush olives among the terraces; they tread the winepresses, yet suffer thirst. The groans of the dying rise from the city; and the souls of the wounded cry out for help, But God charges no one with wrongdoing.”

We have talked about this passage before, so we are not going to go through the details again. But at this point we want to ask a question. Could Job have ever said such things before he was afflicted with all his torments? Would Job have recognized the scandal, the enormity of human suffering? Would he have been able to even ask the question, where is God? when he was in the position that everywhere he stepped was wine and oil and wealth and prosperity? It is Job’s pain, his suffering, his embracing of what it is to be a human that enables him to give this beautiful and eloquent, powerful and painful statement on the nature of human suffering.

B. Job spoke with compassion for common sinners

Job in his suffering could even speak with compassion for common sinners; not just people who suffer, but even people who suffer because of their sin. They are trapped in darkness. They murder, they steal, they commit adultery, but their lives are nothing. Everything they do fails and the wrath of God is heavy upon them. In the end, they vanish into oblivion.

Here is what Job says again in chapter 24:13: “There are those who rebel against the light, who do not know its ways or stay in its paths. When daylight is gone, the murderer rises up, kills the poor and the needy; in the night steals forth like a thief. The eye of the adulterer watches for dusk; he thinks, ‘No one will see me,’ he keeps his face concealed. In the dark, thieves break into houses, but by day they shut themselves in; they want nothing to do with the light. For all of them, midnight is their morning; they make friends with the terrors of the darkness. Yet” he says, verse 18, “they are foam on the surface of the water; their portion of the land is cursed, so that no one goes to the vineyards. As heat and drought snatch away melted snow, so the grave snatches away those who have sinned. The womb forgets them and the worm feasts on them; the wicked are no longer remembered but they are broken like a tree. They prey on the barren and childless woman, and to the widow they show no kindness. But God drags away the mighty by his power; though they become established, they have no assurance of life. He may let them rest in a feeling of security , but his eyes are on their ways. For a little while they are exalted, then they are gone; they are brought low, gathered up like all others; they are cut off like heads of grain.”

Again, we have looked at this passage and we have seen on the one hand how Job describes the pervasiveness of evil in the world. There is a great deal of crime. There are people who are vicious, people who are violent, people who commit unspeakable deeds; and this itself is something that calls out for justice. We have already looked at that.

At this point I want to notice another aspect of how Job speaks of these wicked people. He certainly doesn’t deny that they are wicked. He doesn’t deny that they have done terrible things and that they deserve punishment. But he also describes them in pitiful terms. “They hide all the time. They are trapped in
darkness. Their only friend is the terrors of the night, the terrors of the darkness. They live for a while and then they vanish. Their names are forgotten. They are cut off. They have no place in the world and God Himself strikes them down.”

Yes, they are sinful. But Job once again is able to speak of them as not just bad people, but as people, people who suffer, people whose lives are wasted, people who are crushed and broken and entrapped in darkness.

What I am saying to you is that we have in these two chapters of Job, chapter 29 and then chapter 24, a remarkable contrast, between Job who is almost god-like in his prosperity, in his ability to help people, in the way he is able to conduct himself in life; and Job who is struck down, who is suffering, who has nothing, who is in pain; but now knows fully what it is to be human and can absolutely embrace humanity in their suffering, in their sin, in their weakness and in their mortality. Job has gone from this high status to a very low status; but in the process, in a sense has become much more human.

III. The Need for a Mediator and Redeemer

The second thing we want to take note of is how Job speaks of the need for a mediator and redeemer. We discussed this at length, so we are going to work
through this fairly quickly.

Job has made it clear that he realizes humanity needs a mediator between God and us. At first, his conception of a mediator is a little different from ours because Job is innocent and he wants a mediator to stand between himself and God so that he can have a conversation with God and make the point that, “Hey, I’m not guilty. You are punishing me without just cause.” That is not our situation. We know we are guilty and we need a mediator between us and God because we need someone to intercede for us who are sinners.

A. Job wanted a mediator to plead his case

Even so, in the book of Job, Job fully understands that he is not sufficient to stand before God. He is small, he is weak, he is mortal. God is immortal, all-powerful. God is the Great King. Job has no standing to go before God and make any claims against God. Therefore, Job wants a mediator between himself and God. Job is innocent, but he is treated as if he is guilty. His sufferings terrify him. It is as if God has rigged the system. Once again, he needs someone to stand between himself and God, to bring the two together so that he can finally be justified. Job was frail and he felt himself to be dying.

Of course, we humans are all frail, we are all dying and we all desire redemption and resurrection. So although Job’s condition is not exactly like the condition we find ourselves in, he makes the point very clearly that we humans need a mediator between us and God. We need someone who will rise up against the dust, who will conquer death and allow us to rise from the grave as well. We need someone to intercede for us, to plead for us that we might stand before God and not be condemned.

B. We know that Jesus is the mediator between God and humans

Of course we Christians understand who the mediator is. We know that the mediator is Jesus Christ. We are sinners and Christ has died for us. Christ has risen from the grave. In Christ the dust has been conquered and we too will be raised up. Not only will we be raised up, but Christ will stand between us and God at the judgment to say that His blood has covered our sin, His resurrection has redeemed our life and in Him we are redeemed. Thus, just as Job knew, we also know that there is an immense distance between us and God, something that we cannot bridge and we need a redeemer.

C. Job became aware of human suffering by experiencing it

Let’s bring these two ideas together. On the one hand we saw Job the man who was God-like in how he lived and all his power and all his wealth; and how he needed to fully embrace the sufferings of humanity to really understand what it was all about and to be able to speak for humans who suffer. And we have the need for a redeemer.

D. Characteristics of a mediator

What does this tell us about the mediator? What it implies and what the very idea of a mediator implies is of course, on the one hand the mediator has to be equal with God because he has no standing before God unless he is equal to God.

On the other hand, the mediator, in order to be in that position, must fully embrace the suffering of humanity. He would have to go through the same
experience as the rest of us, of suffering, of pain, of even temptation, if he is to know what it is to be truly human and to stand in our place.

The book of Job tells us we need a mediator, but the mediator must have an incarnation with nothing phony about it. The mediator needs to be someone who goes through life not shielded from all of life’s pains and sorrows. He is not a person who when he gets hungry just turns stones into bread. He is not a person who escapes the hardship of humanity, mortality and weakness. He is not to be shielded from pain if he is one of us.

The first Christian heresy was the heresy of Docetism. This was the heresy that said that Jesus was truly God, but he was not man at all. Of course, there are various varieties of Docetism. One variety said that when Christ walked around on earth, he only appeared to be a man. He looked human; he seemed to have human flesh; but it was all kind of virtual, it was an illusion. Of course, that is not in keeping with Biblical teaching. He is truly God and truly man.

How did Jesus describe himself? He described himself as “the Son of Man.” He didn’t walk around saying “I’m the Son of God.” He would occasionally say that. He certainly did not deny it. But he did not routinely speak of himself as the Son of God. He never called himself the Son of David. Other people did and again, it is true, he was the Son of David. But he did not use that title for himself. When he was speaking of himself, typically in his teaching, in his preaching, in his interaction with people, he didn’t say, “The Son of God must suffer and die for sinners.” He said, “The Son of Man has come, not to be served, but to serve and to give his life a ransom for sinners.” When Jesus was faced with the temptations of Satan, which I have already alluded to, he once again fully embraced what it was to be the Son of Man, the suffering servant, a person who fully takes on humanity.

Jesus did not walk around on earth with grapevines and olive trees sprouting up wherever he stepped. Jesus had divine power. He certainly could give sight to the blind. He could literally heal the lame in a way that Job could only do it, so to speak metaphorically. Yet, he did this while embracing all the pains and all the sufferings of the human race.

The Son of Man, he said, has no place to lay his head. The Son of Man took up his cross and he calls upon his followers to do the same thing. There is something to be seen in the suffering of Job as a pattern of what it is to be the servant of God in the world.

Many of us would like to be a kind of servant of God, a man of God or a woman of God who just has kind of god-like powers, that we can just pray for people and they get well. Someone has a problem and we have this deep well of wisdom and we just know all the answers. So that we think, if I could just be so much like God, kind of an angel here on earth, then that would be what it is to be a true servant of God. It is, in fact, in our suffering, in our pain that we are most redemptive. When we are most human and yet also relying upon God in our ministry to people, then we are truly imitating Christ and we are also repeating the experience of Job.