All of the stories of the bible point, either directly or indirectly, to Jesus. In today’s lesson on Jesus being tortured, suffering and being stripped and hung on the cross, we see some of these. The questions and the notes demonstrate the parallels between Adam and Eve’s need to be clothed to hide from God after sin entered the world and how Jesus was now stripped bare with nothing hidden from God or man. But the other story that came to mind for me was Job.
Job 1 starts with an interesting and unique story. The angels appear at the throne of the Lord and accompanying them is Satan. Satan indicates that he has been “roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it” (the image of the prowling lion comes to mind in his words). The Lord said to him, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him.” Job is judged by the Lord to be “blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil”. Satan replies that this is not surprising, hasn’t God “put a hedge around him?” But, Satan states, if you “stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, he will surely curse you to your face?” The Lord then give Satan permission over Job, everything he has is in Satan’s power, except, Satan is excluded from “laying a finger” on him.
We know the story, Satan takes his best shot, not only taking all earthly things from him, but even sending him false counselors who encourage him to deny and curse God. But Job persists.
This comes to mind because of the question, why did Jesus have to suffer? The payment for sin is death, right? It doesn’t say it is suffering and death. God did not say to Adam and Eve, if you eat of this fruit you will suffer physically and then die, He just told them they would die. Jesus’ death is the payment for sin. So why did He have to suffer? Why did God allow it?
I think we see these answers in Job. Jesus could be described exactly as Job was. There is no one else like him. There never was and never will be until He comes again. He is blameless and upright. He is a man. He fears (and loves) God and shuns evil. He was tempted by Satan in the wilderness after fasting, but did not give in to sin and instead turned repeatedly to scripture.
But, where God held limits on how Satan could torment Job, He removed all the stops with Jesus. Satan could not physically harm Job, not “lay a hand on him.” But with Jesus, He was beaten, mocked, spit on, cursed, stripped, paraded, taunted, betrayed. And, yet, just as the foreshadowing of Job prophesied, He remained completely without sin.
The message to us in Christ’s suffering is the fullness of His love and commitment to God. It is probably true that we all have our breaking point, where, with enough pain and torture we become willing to lie to do anything to make it stop. We hate that part of ourselves, but recognize it is there. And, no one would blame us or hold it against us when we break. We are only human. But, even in that, even at His breaking point, Jesus stayed completely without sin.
This is critically important because the payment for sin is death. If Jesus, fully man, had sinned, any sin, even sinful thoughts, then his death would be the payment for his sin. But by remaining fully without sin, despite facing every trial that ever faces man, his death was not payment for his sin, but a substitutionary payment for my sin and yours. To the beginning to the end of his life as a man, Jesus remained “blameless and upright.”
He was stripped and left naked on the cross
clothing covered our recognition of sin to hide from God, filthy rags, the things we “acquire” have no meaning
He not only was willing to step down from heaven, he gave up everything for us. We stripped Him, but He gives us robes to wear to our wedding with him