Wanted: Celestial Mediator
Today’s reading: Job 7-9; Acts 7:44-60
1 Then Job answered and said: 2 “Truly I know that it is so: But how can a man be in the right before God? 3 If one wished to contend with him, one could not answer him once in a thousand times. Job 9:1-3
52 Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered, 53 you who received the law as delivered by angels and did not keep it.” Acts 7:52-53
The dilemma of fallen man since the Garden of Eden is to learn how to be right before God. Yet man did not and could not find a solution for that dilemma. God provided the solution and man rejected it by crucifying the only Perfect Man.
Job struggles with the reason for his suffering while his would-be comforters heap accusations on him in an effort to explain the frowning providence of God in his life. Job does not claim to be perfect, but he does not understand how his suffering is punishment that fits the crime. He recognizes that a man cannot be right before God on his own terms. But destitution, poverty, bereavement, and relentless pain seems over the top. “There is no arbiter between us, who might lay his hand on us both,” moans Job (9:33). So here God is showing us through Job that there must be a mediator between God and man in order for reconciliation to take place. That can only be God Himself, His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, God Incarnate.
As Stephen closes his defense, which could also be called a sermon, he indicts the Jewish authorities for their killing of that mediator. They have continued in the footsteps of their forebears, resisting the Holy Spirit, persecuting the prophets, and, now, executing the Righteous One, the arbiter that Job longed for. They prove his point by immediately stoning him to death.
Two men, Stephen and Job, suffer for their faith. One is delivered by death almost immediately and the other is made to stagger on in suffering a while longer before experiencing relief.
God has different paths for each of His children to trod, but in the end, those who are His trust Him, do not justify themselves but seek the arbiter whom the Lord has appointed, Jesus, the Righteous One, who alone can mediate between God and man (I Timothy 2:5; Acts 4:12). Walk on trusting Him, my fellow disciple.