Job and Jesus at Gethsemane

Jesus was a righteous sufferer. There were righteous sufferers in the Old Testament but none like Jesus. As the sinless Son of God, his suffering was as the consummate righteous person.

The scene in the Garden of Gethsemane was especially sorrowful. Jesus, on his face before his Father, prayed that the cup of wrath might pass from him (Matt. 26:39, 42, 44). Someone close to him–Judas–had already turned against him (26:14-16). And his three friends–Peter, James, and John–slept instead of watching and praying with him (26:40-41, 43, 45). In his hour of need, they failed him.

There was a righteous sufferer in the Old Testament named Job. Someone close to him–his wife–had turned against him and against God: “Do you still hold fast your integrity?” she asked. “Curse God and die” (Job 2:9). And during his suffering there were three friends–Bildad, Eliphaz, and Zophar–who sat with him and sympathized for his situation (2:11-13). But as time went on, as days compiled into more than a week, they ultimately failed to be the comforters he needed.

In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus was the true and greater Job. His three disciples didn’t have to last for days like Job’s three friends did. Jesus needed them for a few hours of prayer, but they couldn’t persevere even through that. Compared to the emotional and physical turmoil Job endured, the “cup” for Jesus was still more dreadful. Job was a righteous sufferer, but not sinless. Job endured great hardship, but not the cup of God’s wrath.