“My Redeemer Lives” (Easter sermon, Job 19)

imageLast Sunday we shared the story of Oscar Schindler, the German businessman who literally “redeemed” over 1200 Jewish prisoners from death in German concentration camps by bribing guards and bringing the prisoners in to work in his business. The picture you see on the screen is the grave of Oscar Schindler. As we mentioned last week, Schindler’s redemption was limited, as he could only redeem the 1200, and he literally bankrupted himself by redeeming them, and ended up being supported by the Jewish community in his old age. It was his request to be buried in Jerusalem, and Schindler’s grave is one of the most visited in the holy city. But despite all the good that Schindler did, he will never redeem anyone else, for he lies still in his grave. But today we celebrate that as Christians, we have a Redeemer who LIVES and who is able to come to our aid today!

Last Sunday, we looked at Job’s confession of faith in Job 19:25, where the suffering saint cried out: “I know that My Redeemer lives.” We saw how Job knew that despite all he was going through, that He had the “Umpire” that he longed for, who could put his hand on both God and man and bring them together. That “umpire/Redeemer” is Jesus Christ, who was both 100% God and 100% man, and who brought us together with His redeeming death on the cross.

Today, we are going to continue this theme as we consider how Job did not just confess a “Redeemer”, but a Redeemer who “LIVES”! Job did not know Him by name, but we do: Job’s Redeemer came to earth in the person of Jesus Christ; He lived a perfect life, died on the cross to pay for our sins as our Redeemer, and He rose from the dead on the 3rd day, which we celebrate today. “My Redeemer Lives” Job said — and we can confess the same thing today. Let’s look together for a few minutes at what Job’s faith in the Living Redeemer has to teach us us today:

 

I. The CONTEXT of Job’s Faith in the Living Redeemer

The first thing we need to remember about Job’s statement of faith that he knew that his Redeemer lived, is the CONTEXT in which he said it. That’s always important, isn’t it; to keep what someone says in context?

I am reading a biography of William Tyndale, the man who first translated the Bible into English in the 1500’s, and who was burned at the stake for it. During the controversy, one of his enemies attacked him, quoting him as writing that: “Jesus didn’t deserve heaven.” But they left off the rest of the sentence: Tyndate wrote that Jesus didn’t “deserve” heaven because He already HAD it! He didn’t need to “deserve” it! So they took Tyndale’s words way out of context. We have to be careful of that. Sometimes we so want to prove someone or something wrong so badly that we “stretch the truth” to do it — and unfortunately many professing Christians do the same thing. Don’t misquote people just to try to make a point. There’s too much of that going on in this political season. Be a person of God. Be fair and honest in your treatment of everyone — even those with whom you disagree. Keep things in context.

So what WAS the context of Job’s confession here? He made this statement in the midst of a time of great suffering in his life. Many of you know the story: Job had been a wealthy and prosperous man, with a large family, but Satan accused Job of serving God only for the blessings that God gave him, so God allowed him to take all those things away — even his health. And Job sat on an ash heap, totally stripped of every worldly blessing, with his friends now accusing him of some hidden wickedness that had brought all of this upon him. It was in THAT context that Job made that statement: “I know that My Redeemer lives.”

It is quite a statement in that context. Job didn’t believe in a “prosperity gospel” that taught that he would have his “best life now.” He had lost everything. But despite that, he held to his faith, and confessed that he knew that he had a Redeemer, who lived, and who would make everything right between him and God one day. It looks like he knew that it might not happen in his lifetime, because he says in :25 that “at the last” He shall take His stand on the earth; and in :26 he says “even after my skin is destroyed … I shall see God.” He knew that it might not all happen for him until eternity, but he still had that hope in his Redeemer, even if it might not be until after he died, in eternity.

Many of us have that same hope. There are difficulties we face that can’t really be corrected here on this earth, but thank God, we have a Redeemer who lives, and we will have an eternity with Him, and we can know that everything will be made right then.

There is so much in this world that just doesn’t make sense, that there is no justice for, without eternity. Our son Paul has a friend he went to college with, a great young lady who loves the Lord, who walks with Him every day in prayer and His word, who teaches in a Christian school and loves missions. And yet for the last year she has been smitten with what they call “cluster headaches” — supposed to be one of, if not THE most single painful condition a person can have, and there has been no cure for her; no relief, after months and months of doctors and medications, and praying. And she is wrestling with this, trying to praise God in the midst of great pain, and not knowing “why”? Why would this happen to her? Why would God allow that in her young life?

But Krysten is not alone in this, is she? You & I could add all kinds of things to that list. Many of us can ask, why did “this” happen to me; or why did God allow “that” to happen to this person I know, who didn’t seem to deserve it; what sense does much of the pain and suffering we see in this world make? If this life was all there was, there would be so much that just could not make any sense; there could be no redeeming value in it.

But when like Job, you know that you have a Redeemer who lives; who died on the cross to forgive your sins, and who rose again to give you eternal life; who will bring you to be with Him one day, then there is hope that things will indeed be better one day — even if they aren’t here and now; they WILL be: in heaven. And the longest, most difficult suffering we can endure in this life is just a “flicker” of a moment compared to eternity in heaven. If we handle the trials of this life well, and keep our faith in God, we will have that eternity in heaven that Romans 8 says “the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared” with!

I think of another testimony, that of Chicago White Sox baseball player Adam LaRoche, who this week announced that he was retiring from Major League Baseball and leaving his contract which would have paid him $13 million this year, because they wouldn’t let his son in the dugout like the management promised that they would. People ask: how could he walk away from $13 million?!! It doesn’t make sense — unless you believe that life is not all about money; unless you believe there is another world where you are going to have something worth more than $13 million, and that what you will have there is worth making sacrifices for.

But this kind of outlook is only possible for us because we have a Redeemer who lives. Job said, things are bad for me now; but one day, things will be made right; and I will see God in heaven. And I know this will all happen because I have a Redeemer who lives. And the same thing can be true for each of us. You can know that there is something more to live for in this life than just money and temporary fame or “success.” You can know that things will work out well for you in the end, no matter how much pain or injustice you face here on earth. But you can only know that, if you know you have a Redeemer Who Lives, and if you know you will be in heaven, where all things will be rewarded and set right by Him.

 

II. Notice the CONTENT of Job’s faith in the Living Redeemer

He said, “I know that my Redeemer lives.”
Last week we saw how Job hoped for an “umpire”; one who could lay his hands on both God and man and bring them together. We saw how he hoped for the “Redeemer” who was like the “kinsman redeemer” that Boaz was for Ruth & Naomi. But not only that, Job says, “I know that this One I call my Redeemer — LIVES.” This means several things about our faith in the Living Redeemer.

A) First, it means that Job knew that this “Redeemer” that he hoped for, was alive at that very time. The Hebrew word “hay” means “he is”; He lives NOW. It wasn’t just that Job hoped for “someone, sometime” to come along and be his Redeemer, but that He actually did exist, right then. And this was true.

Job’s Redeemer, the Son of God, did not come into existence when He was born as a baby in Bethlehem. He has always existed. God has been in existence from all eternity as the Triune God: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. When Jesus was born, God the Son left heaven and came to earth and became a man, born of the virgin Mary. But The Son of God did not come into existence in Bethlehem; He had always been. That is why when the Jews told Jesus in John 8, “you are not yet 50 years old, and have you seen Abraham?” that Jesus responded to them: “Before Abraham came into being, I AM.” He had been the “I AM” God from all eternity. In Job’s time, Jesus had not yet been born as a baby in Bethlehem, but He was already alive; He was in heaven; waiting for the perfect moment in God the Father’s plan to come to earth. Even in Job’s day, his Redeemer DID indeed live!

B) Second, Job’s Redeemer lives in the sense that when He died to redeem us from our sins, He did not stay dead. We saw last week how Jesus “redeemed” us by paying the price for our sins with His death on the cross. Well, how do we know that really happened? Because He didn’t stay dead: He rose from the dead on the 3rd day. Romans 1:4 says He “was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead.”

See, how do we know, of all the religious leaders that ever lived, of all the people who ever claimed to be gods, showing us the so-called “truth”; how do we know which is really true? This really paralyzes some people spiritually. They see so many religious choices, like candy in a candy store, and how do you decide which one of them is right? God says, I will SHOW you which one is the right one. I will give you a special sign. He foreshadowed it in several places in the Old Testament:
— He said in Psalm 16, “I will not allow My Holy One to undergo decay”. Peter said in his sermon in Acts 2 that David was prophesying about Jesus’ resurrection from the dead.
— He gave the sign of Jonah, who was 3 days in the belly of the fish, given up for dead, but who lived on the 3rd day. Jesus Himself said this was a picture of what He would do in His death & burial.
SO God says, I will SHOW you who My Son really is: I will give this “seal of approval”: I will raise Him from the dead. And that is just what God did. Despite the fact that it was well-known, to both Jesus’ followers AND to the Jews, that Jesus said He would rise from the dead on the 3rd day; despite the fact that the Jews warned the Romans, “This deceiver said he would rise from the dead, put a guard on the tomb”; despite the fact that the Romans put an imperial seal on the tomb, and put a whole squad of Roman soldiers there to guard it — the Bible says that early on the morning of the 3rd day, the earth shook, and the seal was broken, and the rock was moved, and the guards fainted and Jesus rose from the dead: “Our Redeemer Lives”!

And folks, “this did not happen in a corner”; He appeared to the women, He appeared to Peter and John, He appeared to the disciples in the upper room — He appeared to 500 witnesses at one time, who went to their death proclaiming that they had seen Jesus alive.
This was God’s way of saying that of all the prophets and teachers and ‘gods’ and “messiahs” who have ever lived, there is only ONE on whom I have placed My “seal of approval” by raising Him from the dead. Do you want to know Who My Son is, God says? “The REAL Redeemer Will LIVE”! “This is My Beloved Son in whom I am well-pleased” — I’ll raise Him from the dead and show you which One He is: “The Redeemer Lives”!

C) And as a result of that, third, that “My Redeemer lives” means that He lives RIGHT NOW to help us!

In what has become a classic musical, “Les Miserables”, Victor Hugo describes how the people of France had felt oppressed by the king. But they had one hope: an ally; General Lamarque. He was the ONE friend they felt they had, who had some power to help them out of their oppression. But there came a crucial time in the play when the word came on the streets: “General LaMarque is dead.” Those words just rang ominously through the city, because the ONE friend and ally they had against the ruling class was now gone. “General Lamarque is dead.”

See, there’s no hope if your great ally — or your Redeemer, or your advocate, or your umpire is dead. You can weep at his tomb; you can build him a statue, you can live in his memory, but he can’t do anything for you. But the great truth of Christianity is that we do not have a “dead hero” — OUR REDEEMER LIVES!
— Job said here, “My Redeemer lives”!
— I John 2:2, a verse we looked at last week, said, “if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” Not “we HAD” an Advocate, but we “HAVE” One; NOW! He is alive, risen from the dead; seated at the right hand of God the Father in heaven, and He is there to help us NOW!
— The Book of Hebrews says that all the religious priests of the world can only help you as long as they live, but they are prevented by death from helping you any more. But then it goes on to say that Jesus “is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since HE ALWAYS LIVES TO MAKE INTERCESSION FOR THEM.” (Hebrews 7:25)

Our Redeemer LIVES! Jesus died for our sins on the cross, bearing the wrath of God the Father for all our sin; He paid for our sins with His blood, but He rose from the dead on the 3rd day, ascended to heaven where He sits at the right hand of God the Father and HE LIVES there to intercede for us. “We have a friend in high places” — to Whom we can go day and night, confessing our sins, sharing our hearts, bringing our requests, asking for help — and He WILL help us, because we can say like Job did: OUR REDEEMER LIVES!

 

III. Notice also the CONFIDENCE of Job’s faith in the Living Redeemer

He said, “I KNOW that My Redeemer lives.” Job did not say, “I WISH that a Redeemer lived”, or “I HOPE that a Redeemer lives”, or “I THINK that a Redeemer lives”; no, he said, “I KNOW that my Redeemer lives.” This was his confident faith and trust: he has a Redeemer who lives, and who would make things right with God for him, so that one day, he would see God. In fact, THREE TIMES in these verses, Job indicates his confidence that he would see God:
— :26 “Even after my skin is destroyed, yet from my flesh I shall see God.”
— :27 “Whom I myself shall BEHOLD”
— :27b “And Whom my eyes will see …”
So Job was confident: his Redeemer lived, and because of Him, he would indeed see God, which is what we were all made for, and what our hearts’ deepest longing is for. He was “three times” confident of that.

And that’s what faith is: Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for; the conviction of things unseen.” Faith is believing and “knowing” things that you can’t see with your physical eyes, but you are convicted in your heart that it is true.
That’s how Job was: he hadn’t “seen” a Redeemer with his eyes, but he believed in Him anyway. Perhaps (depending on when this book was written) he had read some of the promises in the Old Testament Law about the coming Messiah:
— how Genesis 3 promised that there would come One who would crush the head of the serpent, and make mankind right with God again after they lost the Garden of Eden in their sin.
— He may have read how Moses promised that there would come “a prophet like me” who would lead God’s people back to Him.
And without seeing those things with his eyes, Job believed that these prophesies were true — and his faith in this unseen Redeemer made him right with God, so that one day he would behold Him face to face.

This is how WE are saved as well. Jesus said to Thomas at the end of the Book of John, “Blessed are those who did NOT see but yet believed.” Salvation is by faith, not by sight. This was a word not just for Thomas, but for all of us. You aren’t going to get to “see” in order to believe. Salvation is by faith: trusting that what God’s word says about this “Redeemer who lives” is true.

Saving faith is when we respond to what God has told us in His word. Peter preached on the day of Pentecost about how Jesus died and rose again, and the people responded by believing in that word, and they were baptized, and began following Jesus. And so it has been all through history to this day. Those who will be saved are those who will hear the word of God and respond to it — even though they have not seen these things themselves. That is what saving faith is: responding to the “unseen things” of God’s word — and it will save you, and change you when you do.

Our son-in-law Joshua Breland is here with us today, and he has a great testimony of how he came to faith in Christ — I hope that some time he will get to share it in depth with us personally. But he was attending college in Colorado, going through many of the typical rebellions that young people go through, and engaging in a lot of the practices that are common with that rebellion. But one day, he was driving home to Louisiana from college in Colorado, and he was just scanning the channels for something to listen to, and on came a John MacArthur sermon. Josh listened to it, and the Lord touched his heart through it, and he was saved. He changed colleges, went to a Baptist school in Louisiana, was called to ministry, married a preacher’s daughter, went to seminary, had two out of the 3 prettiest grandbabies in the world, and is now serving in full-time ministry in a church in New Mexico. (That’s a neat story, isn’t it? All except the New Mexico part — it’s too far away!!) Now Josh has never “seen” Jesus — but his life has been changed by Him, as he heard His word, and believed it, as God spoke to his heart, and now he knows that his sins are forgiven, and one day, he will see the Lord.

And that is how we must all be saved, by believing in the Redeemer whom we have not seen. I Peter 1:8-9 says: “Though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.”

God wants you to be confident that you will see Him in heaven one day. I John 5:13 says, “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may KNOW that you have eternal life.” Job said he “KNEW” that his Redeemer lived. He KNEW that he would see God one day. I have that confidence. I am not afraid to die. I had a sickness that for a time we did not know what it was; if it might lead to my death, and I had a peace; I was not afraid to die. I know that my Redeemer lives! And because He lives, I know I have a home in heaven, and I will see Him one day. “My Redeemer lives”!

Do you have that same confidence? Do you KNOW like I John 5 says, that you have eternal life? Do you KNOW if you get sick, or if you die in an accident, that you can face death unafraid, because you are saved? God doesn’t want you to “hope so”; or “think so”; He wants you to KNOW so. And if you will respond to the word of God, to how Jesus died on the cross and rose again, you can KNOW it. Then you can say with all confidence just like Job did, “I KNOW that my Redeemer lives … and I shall see God.”

 

INVITATION
— Do you know that your Redeemer lives? Have you put your trust in Jesus as your own Lord & Savior?
— maybe you need to ask Him to help you with some specific need in your life, or a situation of someone you care about. The Bible says “He always lives to make intercession for us.” Use this time to bring your needs to Him …

About Shawn Thomas

My blog, shawnethomas.com, provides brief devotions from own personal daily Bible reading, as well as some of my sermons, book reviews, and family life experiences.
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