The Bible contains pictures of Jesus on every page. Indeed, one of the reasons why I enjoy reading the scriptures, is they reveal much about the character of Christ.
But what about the story of Job? Where is Jesus in that?
A couple of readers suggested that Job represents Christ in this story. I have to confess, I had never heard this before, but it turns out to be a common teaching. Like Christ, Job was a righteous guy who suffered but was ultimately exalted. Indeed, there are some parallels in the sufferings of Job and Jesus.
But it’s a step too far to say Job was like Jesus.
With the intent of getting our eyes off Job and back on the Lord, I want to consider the ways Job was unlike Jesus. We’ll do this by unpacking four of the popular comparisons that sound true but aren’t:
Myth 1: Job, like Jesus, lost everything
Jesus did not lose anything, but he gave his life willingly. Jesus said, “No one takes my life from me, but I lay it down of my own accord” (John 10:18).
Job lost everything, but Jesus gave everything. Job was afflicted by the devil (Job 2:7), but the devil never laid a finger on the Lord. Job was a victim; Jesus was a victor. Big difference.
Myth 2: Job, like Jesus, was tempted by Satan
Jesus had a famous conversation with the Tempter, but Job never knew him. Satan appears more times in the Book of Job than any other book, but Job had no idea he existed. He was so oblivious to the Tempter’s schemes that Job blamed God for the devil’s afflictions (Job 1:21, 27:2).
Myth 3: Job, like Jesus, was falsely accused of being a sinner
Job was far from sin-free. He was bitter, suicidal and self-righteous. His confidence was not in the Lord but his own moral behavior. “How many wrongs and sins have I committed? Show me my offense and my sin” (Job 13:23). Job’s self-righteousness was so odious that it even silenced the self-righteous men who came to counsel him (Job 32:1).
Myth 4: Job, like Jesus, remained faithful to God
In his suffering, Job accused God of being unjust and hostile (Job 13:34, 27:2). Job believed God had fired arrows of outrageous fortune at him and bound him like a prisoner (Job 6:4, 13:27). Job actually thought God was trying to kill him (Job 30:21, 23).
I’m certainly not condemning Job for having these evil thoughts – the man was in pain. But we can’t deny that Job bore false witness. He was a bad advertisement for God. In contrast, Jesus is the true and faithful witness, the exact representation of God’s character. “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9).
So who was Job like?
I hope you can see that Job had very little in common with Jesus. Job was a flawed and frightened man who fell short of the glorious life that Jesus lived. In this regard, Job was very much like us. As long as he was rich and healthy, he was a nice guy, but when the poo hit the fan the mask came off and his flaws were revealed.
In a sense, Job was a type of Adam. Consider these comparisons:
- Fact 1: Job, like Adam, had everything and lost it all
- Fact 2: Job, like Adam, fell to the devil’s schemes and sinned
- Fact 3: Job, like Adam, tried to make things right… and failed
- Fact 4: Job, like Adam, was redeemed by God and given a new identity
And there are many more similarities…
Did I miss some parallels? Let me know in the comments below.
Why does this matter?
If you imagine Job to be a type of Jesus, you’ll be tempted to hold him up as a role model. When you go through hard times, you may think, as Job did, that God is the author of your suffering. When you experience loss you may say regrettable things like, “God gives and takes away.”
Many people think Job was a natural-born superstar because God said he was an upright and blameless man (Job 1:8). But Job was righteous in the same way that Gideon was a mighty man of valor. Cowardly Gideon became mighty, and superstitious Job became righteous on account of God’s grace. The God “who calls those things which are not, as though they were” calls out our eternal identity and then empowers us to walk in that identity.
Job was no Jesus, but the Gospel of Jesus is clearly revealed in the story of Job, as I will explain in my next article.
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