Bread – The Christian Question

August 27, 2010

Readings for Friday, August 27th
    designated by the Book of Common Prayer:
    Job 9:1-15, 32-35; Acts 10:34-48; John 7:37-52
    Psalms 16, 17, 22
I have read parts of Job many times and may in fact have read the whole thing at some point.  I knew that he was a man who understood that he was not God and that he had no business questioning God’s character or what God did in his or anyone else’s lives.  I also knew that Job recognized that only the righteous, blameless man could stand in the presence of God without being burned to a crispy critter.  What I did not know until the reading today was that Job asked the Christian Question.

Job sets up the question by acknowledging who he really is.  To quote: "…how can a mortal be righteous before God?  Though one wished to dispute with Him, he could not answer Him one time out of a thousand….Though I were innocent, I could not answer Him; I could only plead with my Judge for mercy…Even if I were innocent, my mouth would condemn me; if I were blameless, it would pronounce me guilty…He is not a man like me that I should answer Him, that we might confront each other in court."  Job 9: 2-3, 15, 20, 32.  Job recognizes that his and the world’s concept of "innocence" is not God’s, that he stands condemned before God unless God is merciful, and that his (Job’s) own tongue would convict him if his tongue were innocent, if his tongue was blameless.  Job has no right to question God and he has no right to debate God’s character or actions in the court of public opinion.

So what is the Christian Question?  Is it "how can a mortal be righteous before God?"  Is it "How do I gain the right to call God a "friend?"  Is it how do I avoid being pronounced guilty?  I think the answer to these questions are "No, these are not the Christian Question.  They are great questions worthy of deep thought, but they are questions which every religion attempts to answer."  They are not unique to Christianity.

No, the Christian Question is what Job says at the end of Chapter 9:  "If only there were someone to arbitrate between us, to lay his hand upon us both, someone to remove God’s rod from me, so that his terror would frighten me no more."  Job 9:33-34.  "If only there were someone …"   The Christian Question is "Who is that someone?"

Some one, not some thing and not some (many).  He is man, so that He can represent man and talk to man.  And He is God, so that He can represent God and talk to God.  An arbitrator, a mediator, an agent of both, an intercessor.  Is there such a man?  That is the Christian Question.

To which there is an answer.  There is such a man.  He is the man who bore God’s rod so that it would be removed from us.  He is the man who speaks today to both man and God.  He is God and He is man.  He is spoken of by Peter in today’s lesson from Acts:  "We are witnesses of everything He did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem.  They killed Him by hanging Him on a tree, but God raised Him from the dead on the third day and caused Him to be seen…All the prophets testify about Him tat everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins through His Name."  Acts 10:39-43

Who is this man? – Jesus Christ

Job asked the right question and God in His time gave us the answer.  Are we ready to listen to either the question or the answer?



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