My Redeemer Lives
Job says to us, “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand on the earth.” (Job 19:25-27) Do we understand the meaning of this and the Resurrection? *
Two thousand years worth of witness, testimony, miracles, life, messages. And until today, there are people who still doubt, who don’t really know. But here is Job, the author of the book. He writes, “For I know my Redeemer lives”. He knew – he was sure, he was definite. What about us? Are we sure? Are we definite? What does it mean to know that my Redeemer lives?
When I look at an icon of the Resurrection, what does that mean to me? Contrast this with people who not only heard about the Resurrection, but people who lived it. People like St. Peter, St. Thomas, the disciples on the way to Emmaus. People who saw, like Mary Magdalene. They had heard the messages, understood the prophecies, and yet they could not grasp what it meant to say the “Redeemer lives”. Yet here is Job, who knows – definitely – that his Redeemer lives. Look at the book of Isaiah or Job, which prophecy clearly about the Resurrection. It was all there.
Job says to us, “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand on the earth.” What sort of faith is this? He knows He lives, and he knows He will stand, and stand in His glory and power, as the Creator of all. Look at the next verse: “and after my skin is destroyed.” This is a difficult verse, a negative connotation, painful in concept. Why contemplate this? How can you think about it? It’s frightening; people don’t like to think about pain or death or injury. But we look at Job and the way he says it – with joy, expectation, even enthusiasm. Job does not use flowery language to describe it – he says, “once my skin has been destroyed”. It’s a sort of breakdown of the skin, the flesh, the material aspect of his life. “For this I know, that in my flesh, I shall see God.” He is looking forward to the destruction of his flesh, because he realizes that after that, in his new life, his new flesh, his new resurrection, he will see the Lord.
How many of us are that sure? How many of us have that faith within us, that my spirit will live on, and even when my flesh is destroyed and I am no longer subject to the forces of this earth, I will see God. Not a maybe, not a perhaps, not sure. Not a safe answer or “let’s tag along”. Do you really believe in God? Well, some may say, “I see that He works in me sometimes. I read about the Body and Blood in the Bible, He was incarnate…” But what does that mean? Can you say with Job that once my body decays, once I am dead to this world, once I die and rise again, I will stand with the Lord and see Him? That’s what we need to know, feel, understand. “That in my flesh, I shall see God, who I shall see for myself, with my own eyes, and no one will tell me about it.” Can we understand this faith?
This is what holds us back. Why don’t we work toward the Kingdom? Because we are not sure. We think, “Why should I invest time in something I am not sure about?” Think about it – if we were 100% sure that we would see God in the day of the Resurrection, we would spend all our time to get there. If you knew for sure that stocks would pay good dividends, or that a property would increase in value on a certain date, you would buy. If you were sure that you would see God in the Day of Judgment, you would be living with Him now. How many of us can stand with Job and say, “I will see God, with my own eyes.” Again, Job must have been a very faithful man, because he was speaking based on prophecy, whereas we are speaking based on 2000 years of reality and testimony and history. It’s like me saying to you, “be careful, it is going to rain on Sunday.” And you stand confidently and say, “It IS going to rain on Sunday.” Very different from me coming to you in two weeks’ time and saying, “It rained on Sunday two weeks ago and I have seen it with my own eyes.” You have seen the rain, heard about it, felt it, just as you have seen, heard and felt the Resurrection.
There is no longer someone saying, “The Lord is coming and will raise Himself from the dead, or will redeem you and shed His blood.” The Lord has come, He has raised Himself from the dead, and has redeemed us. It is done already, it is finished. No more waiting. So why can’t we feel God?
Maybe this last part of the verse will shed some light. It says, “How my heart yearns within me.” That’s very expressive. It sounds poetic. It’s feeling, emotion, love. He yearns for his master, his Lord, his God. It’s not, “Yeah, I know He’s coming and I’m happy.” It’s not, “Are you coming to the wedding – no, I can’t because I have things to do.” Job’s heart yearns within him, he longs, he has anticipation and love and eagerness. When you go to see your friends, you have a yearning to see them. You can see it in the way people greet each other – some may be very eager to see you, but you respond coolly. Where is the yearning? Is this how we greet God?
Can you imagine how God would feel – He who created us, gave us life and breath. He who conquered death, arose and gave us life. He would come to greet us, and we would respond, “Um, do I know You?”
God would say, “Yes! I gave you life, I gave you My Spirit, image and likeness!”
“Uh, it’s starting to ring a bell…”
God: “I came and died on the Cross for you! I went to the tomb, I was there for 3 days, I went and picked up your brethren – Adam and the others- and brought them to Paradise.”
“Ah, yes, You look familiar. I think I know You.”
God: “But do you KNOW Me? Or just know OF Me?”
We look to the ground, walk away sadly. For we think that we know of Him, but we do not KNOW Him. Our hearts do not yearn to see Him. So what is the secret of Job? The secret is that you DO know Him.
If we look back, Job says, “How my heart yearns within me.” For what? Look back a few verses – his heart yearns that his skin is destroyed? To see God, your skin is destroyed, you die. Job, aren’t you worried about losing things? No, for he who loses his life gains will find it. Job, aren’t you worried about giving things up? What – keep some material wealth and possession and give up everlasting life? Where’s the equation, where is the comparison? People pity monks for “leaving so much behind”. But it’s not a choice – there is no comparison; they gain so much more compared to the little this world has to offer.
It is a constant struggle and conflict; it’s a way of making a decision. The world will give you material wealth, but it will give you strife, difficulty and death. Whereas God can give you joy, happiness and life. So where is the dilemma? Where is the choice? Really, what are we giving up? To know the complexity and the meaning of the Resurrection, we have to understand what we are getting out of it, what we are gaining, what we are winning out of this. Of course we will not give something up unless we think we will get something better. So what am I gaining?
Something to remember – the temptation on the Mount was quite indicative of what we ourselves are tempted by in life. Our sensual needs, our material hunger (wealth, material goods, food), or worldly power. Each of the temptations that Christ endured shows us what humanity is. Satan was trying to tempt Jesus, just as he would tempt any of us, because he was not sure if Christ was the Son of God.
Job 3:13-15: “For now I would be lying down in peace; I would be asleep and at rest with kings and counselors of the earth, who built for themselves places now lying in ruins, with rulers who had gold, who filled their houses with silver.”
What does that mean? He talks about the life to come. He is differentiating and comparing someone whose death and flesh will be destroyed, but whose heart yearns for God. On the other hand are those who loved the world, did everything they wanted to do, who had gold, grandeur and authority, and yet they lie and sleep, an everlasting sleep. They have no life with God, no experience with God.
You see, the Resurrection we celebrate every year is that which changed us from being people who concentrated on the earth and the world to people who had a promise that, if they believed in God, they would have resurrection, they would have everlasting life, they would live eternally and they would see God. That’s the difference. Before, you had to be a really good person to keep up your faith – think of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – to do the right thing and live their lives on a promise, and after they died, they went to Hades like everyone else. They lived on a promise and prophecy. The Resurrection opened the door for us and showed us the promise is fulfilled and is true. Now, we can look back on the story of the thief on the Cross, and the Lord clearly says, “Today you will be with Me in Paradise.” The Resurrection changed us from being people in the world to people who live the everlasting life. We no longer concentrate on material, but spiritual. We can be like Job. It will not only be him who says, “Lord I yearn for You. I long for my flesh to be destroyed so I can be with You.” We, too, long to be with Christ. We are not bound by the corruptible, destroyable body. The Resurrection gave us hope.
We are now children of light. If we go back to the original verse that we are reading, Job says, “For I know now that my Redeemer lives.” How many of us can say that? Job had not even seen the Redeemer, but we have – we’ve seen the promise, the resurrection. Concepts have changed: death became life, destruction of the skin became everlasting life, weakness in the tomb becomes the strength of the resurrection, and dying to this world become living for eternal life.
In Eph 5:8-14, “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said: ‘Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.’”
Two things came out of that: you were once darkness, but are now light in the Lord. We were dead, now alive. We were material beings, now with a spirit that lives. We were once anchored to this world, now we can sore above the skies. The Lord has changed us, and we are now light of the Lord in the world. Our Lord said distinctly, “You are the light of the world.” We are His presence, His ambassadors in the world. Our actions reflect upon the Lord. “People will see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”
We have come to an end of an era: we are no longer in fellowship with darkness, but are now in fellowship with Christ Himself, the Word of God, through the Resurrection for eternal life. Our Lord has given us entitlement to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but it is up to me to live a life worthy of the calling. The Resurrection was to bring light into the world and everlasting life. We were “living in darkness and the shadow of death.” The only way to get rid of darkness was to bring light into the world – the Lord. He brought joy to defeat sadness, life to defeat death, Himself and His love to defeat Satan…
You know the difference, you have an obligation to choose the right path and walk in the light. You know it because you have seen it, it has been trodden before you. Don’t think that because we have blindfolds, that this is going to be a good enough excuse to plead ignorance. The Lord has come into the world as Light.
The Lord says, “Awake you who sleep. Arise from the dead.” Arise from the dead in Christ, and Christ will give you light. The promise that came out of the tomb, that is the light. The slumber of death, sin, the weakness of the world will fall away. The light of Christ is victory, strength, and He will give it to you.