As Job’s friends arrive upon the horizon, they don’t recognize him in his misery. They don’t recognize this man, covered in sorrow, clothed in sores from head to toe, still grieving the death of his children and now grieving his broken flesh. Though they’ve come to counsel their friend in his hour of sorrow, they don’t recognize Job because his appearance is marred and beyond human semblance. And thus they will have no real word of comfort to give to this man who has been stricken, smitten, and afflicted.
So it often is with us in this life. We find ourselves covered in sorrow, immersed in suffering that causes those around us not to recognize us. We grieve over evils that our friends don’t understand. We suffer burdens our family members can’t quite comprehend. We feel sliced open by the sores of our sins, covered head to toe in guilt that makes us, in a way, unrecognizable to those without wisdom, those whose words can’t help us. They don’t recognize our depression. They don’t recognize why we grieve over things that they don’t see as that big a deal. They don’t understand why we can’t just smile more, be happier, and not be so hard on ourselves. In all of this they don’t recognize us when they appear on the horizon.
But now a Friend has arrived on the horizon who does recognize us, even when we’re covered in sores and in the depths of woe. Jesus Christ, the one identified by John, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world has arrived on the horizon. He has walked toward us. He has arrived in our presence. He’s taken us in His arms, and in that moment, Jesus recognizes us. He sees beneath our misery and sees a lost little lamb, a lost sinner created in the image of God desperately in need of that image being restored. Beneath the sores, He sees a brother, which is why He takes on our suffering. It’s why He suffers on our behalf, why He becomes marred, and beyond human semblance. It’s why He is stricken, smitten, and afflicted for us, and by His stripes, we are healed.
In all of this, Jesus washes the sores of guilt and suffering off of us. Through the flood of His blood, through the waters of baptism that cleanse us in His death and resurrection, Jesus has made us what we were created to be. And because of this, now you can recognize yourself. You can watch the sores of condemnation melt off your flesh. Through the mercy of Jesus Christ, you are no longer a lost, unrecognizable sinner. You are a pure and spotless child of God, eternally known, seen, and loved by your Father in heaven.