John D. Barry
Isaiah 1:1–2:5; Luke 1:1–38; Job 1:1–12
The connections between the Testaments aren’t readily apparent, but a closer reading—empowered by the Spirit—can reveal them. Such is the case with the connections among Isaiah, Luke, and Job. The authors of each of these books begin by introducing a person, and then they invite us into the story.
“There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job. That man was blameless and upright and God-fearing and turning away from evil. And seven sons and three daughters were born to him” (Job 1:1–2).
“The vision of Isaiah son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah. Hear, heavens, and listen, earth, for Yahweh has spoken: ‘I reared children and I brought them up, but they rebelled against me’ ” (Isa 1:1–2).
“Since many have attempted to compile an account concerning the events that have been fulfilled among us, just as those who were eyewitnesses and servants of the word from the beginning passed on to us, it seemed best to me also—because I have followed all things carefully from the beginning—to write them down in orderly sequence for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty concerning the things about which you were taught” (Luke 1:1–4). Although these three introductions represent a simple pattern repeated among the books, only later do we see the deeper parallels. Isaiah draws on the thematic framework of Job: People need an advocate—someone righteous to stand between themselves and God—because all people are unworthy (Job 9; compare Isa 49:1–3; 52:13–53:12). We then find that Luke draws upon Isaiah’s framework: He identifies this advocate as a savior who will suffer on behalf of God’s people (the Suffering Servant; Luke 4:22–30; compare Isa 52:14–15; 53:3).
The narratives in these books quickly lead us in directions we don’t expect, and as we begin to feel the tension and disorientation of the characters, the focus of each shifts to the savior at the center of God’s work in the world. In the midst of the pain these stories record, we see God working out something great—something beautiful. The world will be saved through one man: Jesus, God’s Son. This Suffering Servant will pay the price for the sins of us all. No matter the time, the place, or the people, God’s work in the world reflects and builds on itself to accomplish His great purpose of salvation.
How does your story fit in the story of God’s saving work? What part do you play? How will your story be told?
This article was originally posted in Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan.
John D. Barry is the CEO and founder of Jesus’ Economy, a nonprofit dedicated to creating jobs and churches in the developing world. To empower the extreme poor, Jesus’ Economy also has an online fair trade shop. John is also the general editor of Faithlife Study Bible and the former editor-in-chief of Bible Study Magazine. Learn more about John’s work with Jesus’ Economy at www.jesuseconomy.org.