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Jesus and Job

As Jesus traveled along with his disciples, they came to a man who had been blind from birth. The disciples asked Jesus, "Teacher, was this man born blind because of his own sin, or because of sins his parents committed?" (John 9:2)

Though not exactly the same situation as what Job experienced, the disciple's words expressed a commonly-held perception about suffering: that it occurs as a direct result of someone's sin - whether the individual himself or someone else. It has to be someone's fault!

In Job's case, his three "friends" claimed that it was Job's own sins that were the cause of his "punishment." Job, on the other hand, insisted (truthfully) that he was innocent. He claimed that the world was full of injustice - that innocent people suffer and guilty people receive blessing after blessing. Even suffering because of a parent's sin is injustice, according to Job, for it does not punish the one who did the sinning.

Elihu, on the other hand, claimed that there was another perspective. He focused on the wisdom and power of God. It is our duty to trust God, because of who he is, and to know that he will do what is righteous and just - and will do it at the right time.

This isn't far from the focus Jesus directed his disciples toward: "This man isn't suffering because of his own sins or his parent's sins. This happened so that the power of God might be displayed in his life." (John 9:3)

Dennis Hinks © 1999 (incl. translation of John 9:2-3)