23 Pentecost, October 28
Job 42:1-6, 10-17 or Jer. 31:7-9
Ps. 34:1-8 (19-22) or Ps. 126
Heb. 7:23-28 • Mark 10:46-52
Job lost his sons and daughters, his livestock and servants; he was covered in loathsome sores from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. Providence was implicated and thus Job, though quiet and humble at first, raged against God. Job is the suffering human being. He is the icon of the anguish into which we are born. He is a question without answer. He knows every fear and every trouble (Ps. 34:4-5). “A mortal, born of woman, few of days and full of trouble, comes up like a flower and withers, flees like a shadow and does not last” (Job 14:1-2).
The Bible is our modern world, an ancient witness to present-day truth. Is there hope for human beings? Who will heal the wounds of Job? Who will restore all that he has lost? Who will quiet his tormented mind? Who will descend to the dead? There is a high priest who holds his priesthood permanently and continues forever and who lives to make intercession for all who suffer (Heb. 7:24-25). He is both the priest who offers and the offering itself. He is “holy, blameless, undefiled, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens” (Heb. 7:26). And yet he reigns in the highest heaven precisely because he bore a cross and visited hell. He was like us in every respect, though without sin. He is like us still and evermore, knowing what we suffer and suffering our pain, and transmuting divine grace and divine adoption. He is the one who knows that we weep and who brings consolation. He is the one who leads to cool waters. He is the straight and safe path (Jer. 31:9). He is a refuge in time of need.
Jesus is the explication of the Father, the endless extraction of eternal depths (John 1:18). He is not, in strictly human terms, a single cogent explanation. When asked why a man was born blind, he pointed only to the glory of God manifest in a world of the blind coming to the sight of faith. Jesus Christ our Lord descends to be among us, deigns to be with us, suffers and dies for us, rises again in the fullness of his human and divine nature. Rising as the true human being, he brings with himself daughters and sons from every age. He heals by taking our wounds, forgives by bearing the weight of sin and judgment, and gives life by undergoing death. He burrows into the depth of humanity, touching everything, healing everything, renewing everything. He is even, amid our human lot, laughter and shouts of joy, a spontaneous protest of hope and meaning.
We know Jesus Christ as our life in the moment that we know he is both with us and for us. He is with us in his humanity; he is for us in the gift of divine life. He is with us in our pain, and he is for us as our great physician. Jesus Christ knows us at the moment when he stands still (Mark 10:49). There is moment when the whole world recedes into the background, when Jesus and one person stand together, when healing and life are deeply personal and mysterious. There is story about a man named Bartimaeus, Son of Timaeus. He was a blind beggar. When he heard that Jesus was coming, he began to cry out. Many ordered him to be quiet, but he cried out even more loudly. “Jesus stood still and said, ‘Call him here’” (Mark 10:46-49).
Stand where you are. Jesus stands with you. He is your life and your enlightenment amid this fragile world.
Look It Up
Read Psalm 34:19.
Think About It
Our lives consist of afflictions and rescue.