3-3-7 Job and Jesus
We have suggested that the sufferings of Job are framed in language which
connects with the sufferings of Hezekiah and also Israel, whom he epitomized,
at the time of the Assyrian invasion. Hezekiah and Israel are both types
of Christ (note how so many of the curses on Israel for their disobedience
came upon Christ on the cross). The suffering servant of Isaiah often
concerns all three of them. Thus Job's sufferings point forward, via Hezekiah
and Israel, to Christ. His final vindication when he prays for his friends,
lives many years, and sees his sons (42:8,16) thus connects with the prophecy
of Christ making " intercession for the transgressors" who persecuted
him- i.e. the Jews- and seeing his seed, prolonging his days, after his
crucifixion and resurrection (Is.53:10,12- note how Is.53 is a chronological
account of the events of Christ's death, resurrection and ascension).
The description of Job as the son of man and a worm uses identical language
as that used about Christ on the cross in Ps.22:6. Thus the friends for
whom Job prayed are equated with the Jews who persecuted Christ, for whom
Christ made intercession both on the cross and after his ascension. Job
being fatherless (6:27) and being able to echo our Lord's " Which
of you convinceth me of sin?" with " Is there iniquity in my
tongue?" (6:30) are just some of many shadows of Christ to be found
throughout the record of Job. Most comfortingly, these shadows suggest
that our Lord suffered the almost manic levels of depression experienced
by Job, especially in His final passion.
The whole of James 5:10-16 appears to be based on the example of Job:
v.12= Job 3:1; v.13,14 cp. Job's afflictions; v.11= Job 42:10; God's mercy
to Job is used by James as an encouragement to the sinners in the ecclesia
to repent; v.16= Job 42:8. Job is held up in v.11-13 as an example of
a prophet being afflicted, but then James goes on to speak of praying
for the sick who had sinned- i.e. those who had been struck
with physical illness as a result of their wickedness. The sick were to
" pray for one another, that ye may be healed" , knowing that
" the effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much"
. This may be alluding to Job's prayer for the friends in 42:8 while still
sick himself . The word for " fervent" is the same translated
" earnest" in the record of Christ's fervent prayer in the garden
in Lk.22:44-46. Job's prayer for the spiritual welfare of the friends
points forward to Christ's prayer in the garden. His prayer was for his
salvation from death- which was tantamount to praying for our salvation,
and that was certainly the motive behind it rather than of selfish self-preservation.
Only through His resurrection could we be saved. Thus the motivation for
Christ's earnest prayers for salvation was His desire to gain us salvation.
This is all confirmed by Job's prayer of 42:8 being connected with Christ's
prayers in Is.53. Another connection with Is.53 is in 2:12,13. The friends
" knew him not" as the Jews also did not recognize Christ because
of the great physical torment (Is.52:14; 53:3). Like those who crucified
Christ " they sat down" watching him; cp. " and sitting
down they watched him there" . The astonishment of the Jews at the
ghastly physical appearance of Christ on the cross (Is.52:14) is matched
by Job 17:7,8: " All my members are as a shadow..men shall be astonied
at this" (i.e. the state of his body). Job 5:11 is quoted in Prov.3:11,
which is a prophecy of Christ . Prov.3:13-15 describes our Lord's successful
finding of wisdom in the language of Job's unsuccessful search for it
in Job 28:16-19, implying He found what Job did not (cp. Rom.9:31,32).
Job, Jesus, Israel
We have noticed that Job represents both Christ and Israel. This is nicely
shown in 19:12-14: " His troops come together, and raise up their
way against me, and encamp around about my tabernacle" . This is
reminiscent of the descriptions of the Roman armies (Christ's armies-
Matt.22:7) surrounding Jerusalem in AD70. There then follows a description
of Job's sufferings which has clear links with that of Christ's crucifixion
in Ps.69. " He hath put my brethren far from me (cp. Ps.69:8), and
mine acquaintance are verily estranged from me. My kinsfolk have failed,
and my familiar friends have forgotten me" . Note how the last phrase
links with Christ's description of Judas as " my own
familiar friend" , implying there may be a connection between the
one-time friends of Job, and Judas. Both epitomized the Jewish system,
and both were at one stage trusted by Job/Jesus. Other descriptions of
Job's sufferings in the language of Ps.69 include Job 30:9 " Now
am I their song, yea, I am their byword" (cp. Ps.69:12); 22:11 "
abundance of waters cover thee" (cp. Ps.69:1,2); 2:11 the friends
came " to mourn with him and to comfort him" , although Job
said he turned to them for comfort in vain (16:2). The Hebrew in 2:11
is identical to that in Ps.69:20, describing Christ looking in vain for
There are at least two instances in the Gospels where the
Lord Jesus is quarrying his language from the book of Job, and shows a
certain identification of himself with Job. In Matt.19:23-26 the Lord
explains the irrelevance of riches to the spiritual good of entering the
Kingdom, saying that " with God all things are possible" - without
money. This is almost quoting Job 42:2, where Job comes to the conclusion
that all human strength is meaningless: " I know that Thou canst
do everything" . It may be that Jesus is even implying that through
the tribulation of his life he had come to the same conclusion as Job.
Matt.5:27-30 is another example. The Lord says that looking on a woman
lustfully was the same as actually performing the sin, albeit within the
man's heart. This is the language of Job 31:1: " I made a covenant
with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?" . Job recognized
that if he did so, this would be the same as actually committing the deed.
He says he will not look lustfully on a maid because " Is not destruction
to the wicked? and a strange punishment to the workers of iniquity?"
(31:3). Thus Job's understanding that a lustful look in the heart was
working iniquity was at the basis of Christ's teaching.