Recently during my daily Bible reading time I finished going through the Book of Job. Although Job is toward the middle of the Old Testament in terms of its location, it’s generally considered to be the oldest, or first Old Testament book written. What I find particularly fascinating about that is Job didn’t have anyone’s writings, including Moses’, but he still had such tremendous revelation of God and His future Messiah. I think personally I’ve found some of my favorite Old Testament references to my Savior in this wonderful book.
In 9:2 Job asked, “How can a man be righteous before God?” The pride and wickedness of men’s hearts convinces most of us that our own works and self-righteousness make us righteous before God. It’s a very rare person that believes he is anything but righteous. Most of feel this way, because either we think we’ve done more bad than good or because we’ve never committee any of the “big” sins. When we do those things that we can’t help but identify as wrong, we still don’t feel much remorse about it because we can justify why it took place. “Of course telling the truth would have caused more problems than lying; therefore, I was actually doing something good” or “Considering the way he’s treated me, he definitely had that coming.” Once I heard that most murderers in prison believe they’re good people, because they committed their crimes for good reasons. Somehow though, Job was able to recognize that man has difficulty being righteous before God.
Later in the chapter Job discusses what he seems to view as the answer to his question. He says, “If only there were someone to mediate between us, someone to bring us together, someone to remove God’s rod from me, so that His terror would frighten me no more. Then I would speak up without fear of Him, but as it now stands with me, I cannot.” (9:33-35). Job recognized he needed someone to mediate between him and God. Although his revelation was limited compared to what we know, he was still looking forward in faith to Jesus Christ. 1 Tim 2:5 says, “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.” He even expected this Mediator “to remove God’s rod from [him].” Isaiah 53:5 most vividly describes Jesus taking the “rod” or punishment our sins deserved:
“But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.”
Following the work this Mediator would accomplish, God’s “terror would frighten [him] no more” and he “would speak up without fear of Him.” In other words, Job recognized He would boldly and confidently be able to approach God once the punishment for his sins was taken by Someone else. Job knew He would be able to approach God without fear. The New Testament tells us in various passages that this is what Jesus accomplished for us:
- Eph 3:12 In whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him
- Heb 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need
- Heb 10:19 Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus
A few chapters later in Job 16:19-21 he says:
“Even now, behold, my witness is in heaven,
And my advocate is on high.
“My friends are my scoffers;
My eye weeps to God.
“O that a man might plead with God
As a man with his neighbor!” (NAS)
Somehow even at this moment when Job was suffering terribly he knew his “witness [was] in heaven.” Job knew he had an “advocate” to “plead with God on his behalf “as a man [pleads] with his neighbor.” This would have been especially comforting to him since as he says, his “friends” were nothing more than “scoffers.”
The reality that Jesus Christ is our advocate in heaven, interceding on our behalf to God the Father is one of the strongest themes in the New Testament. 1 John 2:1 says, “My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” A modern concept of Jesus’ ministry would be a defense attorney. Christ accomplishes this great work for us at the right hand of God: “Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.” (Rom 8:34).
Following Jesus’ ascension to heaven, He now lives as our advocate and witness:
- Heb 7:25 Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them
- Heb 9:24 For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us
We give thanks regularly for the great work Christ accomplished for us on the cross, and Job looked forward to that work, but more than anything else he looked forward to that Person who could intercede for Him to the Father. Praise God for the Son He provided to fulfill this very work for each of His children.