The Book of Job provides some of the greatest types and shadows of Jesus in the Old Testament. Although Job didn’t have the revelation that we have, he still looked forward to a Mediator, Advocate, and Redeemer. Centuries later, Jesus revealed Himself to be the reality and substance of Job’s words.
Job Needed a Mediator
He longed for a Person to stand between him and God:
Job asked: “Truly I know it is so, but how can a man be righteous before God?”Job 9:1-2
This is the most important question people can ask, because it determines where we spend eternity. Job answered his question and explained why “a man [cannot] be righteous before God”:
If one wished to contend with Him, he could not answer Him one time out of a thousand. God is wise in heart and mighty in strength. Who has hardened himself against Him and prospered?Job 9:3-4
Nobody can stand before God and respond to His questions. Job learned this the hard way when he was finally given his audience.
At the end of the chapter, Job explained the problem and necessary solution:
For He 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.Job 9:32-33
He needed a Mediator to stand between God and him. First Timothy 2:5 says, “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.” The words “lay his hand on us both” refer to bringing people together, which is how it is translated in some Bibles. Job was looking for Someone to reconcile him to God, and 2 Corinthians 5:18 says, “God has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ.”
Let Him (the Mediator) take His (God’s) rod away from me, And do not let dread of Him terrify me.Job 9:34
A rod administers punishment, and Job wanted the Mediator to take away the judgment he deserved. But if God took it from him, He would have to administer the punishment to Someone else. Sins can’t go unpunished or God wouldn’t be just. Job expected his Mediator to receive his punishment.Isaiah 53:5 says Jesus “was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities.”
Then I would speak and not fear Him, but it is not so with me.Job 9:35
Job could approach God confidently if the Mediator did what he described, but he knew that had not been done for him. Jesus has done this for us though: “We have boldness and access [to God] with confidence through faith in [Jesus]” (Ephesians 3:12).
After the Mediator took God’s rod away from Job, he would no longer “fear God.” But the words “it is not so with me” mean he knew it wasn’t within his power to accomplish this.
Job longed for the Mediator during his trials, and He is available to us when we suffer. Jesus allows us to “come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).
Job Looked Forward to His Mediator by Faith, Because Even He Wasn’t Righteous Enough
Job couldn’t see his Mediator. He didn’t know who He was, but he could look forward to Him in faith. This is Old Testament salvation, and it’s just like New Testament salvation: justification by faith. Consider the ways Job is described: “There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil” (Job 1:1; see also Job 1:8 and 2:3).
As far as earthly righteousness goes, nobody could do better than Job. But God says, “There is none who does good, no, not one” (Psalm 14:2-3, 53:2-3, quoted in Romans 3:10; see also Ecclesiastes 7:20, 1 Kings 8:46, 2 Chronicles 6:36, and Psalm 143:2). Job was arguably the greatest man in the Old Testament, but he wasn’t righteous enough in God’s eyes.
What Can We Learn From Job?
Job teaches there’s no righteousness man can attain that’s “good enough.” The religious leaders were the picture of self-imposed righteousness, but Jesus said:
Unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heavenMatthew 5:20
If Job and the religious leaders couldn’t attain a righteousness that’s acceptable to God, nobody can. Our hope comes from the righteousness that’s freely available by grace through faith in our Mediator:
The righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe.Romans 3:21-22
Job Needed an Advocate
He longed for an Advocate to plead his case:
“Surely even now my witness is in heaven, and my evidence is on high.”Job 16:19
A witness (or advocate) speaks on behalf of someone else, and that is what Job wanted. He knew there was Someone to testify on his behalf, and he even knew this Person was “in heaven…on high.”
“My friends scorn me; my eyes pour out tears to God. Oh, that one might plead for a man with God, as a man pleads for his neighbor!”Job 16:20–21
Job lost everything. Even his “friends” became his accusers. It would not be too much to say that he was the loneliest man in the world. In the face of so much desertion and criticism, he wanted someone on his side. He knew there was an Advocate to defend him the way “a man pleads for his neighbor.” When Job knew he did not have anyone else, he knew he had this Person.
Even if we feel as though we have lost everything, we “have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1). When we suffer, He “is even at the right hand of God, [making] intercession for us” (Romans 8:34). If we feel as though we do not have anyone or anything else, we still have Jesus.
Job Needed a Redeemer
He longed for Someone to deliver him out of his suffering:
For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth. And after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!Job 19:25–27
Job knew his Redeemer was alive and He would stand on the earth at the end of time. Satan “struck Job with painful boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head” (Job 2:7). Job said, “My flesh is caked with worms and dust, my skin is cracked and breaks out afresh” (Job 7:5). His flesh was in terrible shape, but he knew after it was “destroyed,” he would “see God in [his] flesh.” How could Job see God in his flesh if his flesh was destroyed? He expected to receive a new body:
Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible (earthly bodies) must put on incorruption (glorified bodies), and this mortal (earthly bodies) must put on immortality (glorified bodies).1 Corinthians 15:51-53
Job said he would see his Redeemer with “[his own] eyes,” and he knew this meant “[seeing] God” Himself. Jesus, the Redeemer, is God: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). Following the Incarnation, Jesus said, “I and My Father are one” (John 10:30). Our flesh will be destroyed, but we too will receive new bodies and see God for ourselves.
Despite Job’s suffering, these thoughts were still enough to cause “[his] heart [to] yearn within [him].” He was overwhelmed as he looked forward in faith to being redeemed. Our joy should be even greater considering we have been redeemed:
Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.1 Peter 1:18-19
Even during the worst trials, the redemptive work of Christ should cause our “hearts to yearn within [us]” for Him.
Discussion Questions to Answer in the Comments Section
- During trials, how can you be encouraged thinking about the Mediator, Advocate, and Redeemer you have in Jesus?
- What other roles does the Lord fill that can encourage you during trials? For examples, look at Psalm 18:2, 27:1, and 144:1–2?
- How can longing for Jesus give you peace during trials?
- Do you see any other ways Job served as a type of Christ? If so, list them.
The text in this post is from Enduring Trials God’s Way: A Biblical Recipe for Finding Joy in Suffering, and the audio is from the accompanying audiobook. I am praying God uses the book and audiobook to strengthen your faith and exalt Christ!