Monday, 5 June 2017

Day 5: I Know My Redeemer Lives

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"I know my Redeemer lives."
Job 19: 25 

I remember once, during a tough few months, reading Job and being struck by these verses...

"God gives me up to the ungodly and casts me in to the hands of the wicked. I was at ease and he broke me apart; he seized me by the neck and dashed me to pieces, he set me up as his target." (Chapter 16)
Surprisingly, perhaps, these verses really comforted me because that's how I'd felt at times in the previous few years: as though God was opposing me, setting himself against me, destroying my plans and my peace and taking from me the things I loved and longed for. It was a comfort that someone had felt like this before me, and that it had been articulated so boldly! 

But as I thought about it more, it struck me that Job just thought God was against him. Actually, God was really delighted with him and so Satan wanted to attack. Job's feelings did not represent the full reality. So then I thought- just because it feels like God is opposing me, it doesn't mean God is opposing me. 

Nonetheless, I had my doubts. Job suffered in innocence, and I couldn't possibly make that claim for myself! Often the things I have suffered are a murky mess of circumstance and sinfulness, often I'm a villain as much, if not more than, a victim.

But as I continued to think about it, it struck me that hundreds of years later, Jesus must have felt exactly how Job felt. 

In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus wrestled in anguish as he faced what was to come. He pleaded for another way, for a way where he would not be handed over to evil men, broken apart and dashed to pieces. He shed tears as he anticipated how it would feel to have all of God's angry wrath at sin, channelled against him. And yet, he was willing. He laid his life down, he gave himself up to become sin, to become the means by which God's justice, and wrath might be satisfied.. 
And so, on the cross, God did oppose him. 

Though he had loved him from eternity, He gave Jesus up to the ungodly. He rejected him. His wrath crushed him and caused him to suffer (Isaiah 53:11). His body was broken, though he was innocent, so that I, the guilty one, might go free. 

But then, after he had been in the grave three days, God raised him from the dead. He declared: this is my Son, with whom I am delighted! He has opened up the gates of heaven! The price has been paid in full! 

And so, in our suffering, we can declare: I know my Redeemer lives!

I know my Redeemer lives. He sits at God's right hand- an everlasting, enthroned, glorious reminder: redemption's price is paid, God's wrath is satisfied.

So it may feel like I am God's target, or that he is opposing me, but my Redeemer, alive in heaven by the will and power of his Father, is testament to the mind-blowing truth that whatever it may feel like, God is on my side!  Jesus suffered for my sin, so when I suffer, I can be confident that it is not as a target of God's wrath. 

The Father made himself the enemy of His Son, so that His enemies could become his sons. And that Son, the great high priest whose name is love, ever lives and pleads for me. 

Whatever suffering I may face, I can say with even more confidence than Job: I know my Redeemer lives! 

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