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Jesus the Prophet, part 4
Like I said earlier this week, it is a dangerous and humbling thing to be a prophet. If you were called to be a prophet, you were claiming to speak the very Words of the Most High God. This is not something you want to be mistaken about: just imagine what wrath would come upon the one who willfully and wrongly claimed to speak for God to the detriment of His people.
But think about it from the other angle as well. Consider the implications of ignoring a prophet of God. If a person came to your town and spoke the very Words of God to you and you ignored him or her, you were effectively ignoring the clear Words of God. To deny and persecute a true prophet of God was to bring direct insult to God. This is not a small thing. On the other hand, to listen to and obey a prophet, is to heed the direct revelation of God.
Another way of looking at this first candle of the Advent wreath is in recognition of the fact that Jesus is The Prophet of God. Yes, He was foretold by the prophets, but more than that, He IS The Prophet of God. The words that Jesus spoke while He was on earth were not His own, they were the very Words of God. Jesus said this in John 14:23-24 “If anyone loves Me, he will obey My teaching. My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. He who does not love Me will not obey My teaching. These Words you hear are not My own; they belong to the Father who sent Me.” Jesus clearly states that He did not come with human wisdom, but with the very Words of God. The Words you hear from Jesus belong to the Father who sent Him. All that Jesus taught was from God Himself; Jesus IS God’s message to the world.
Thus, Jesus gives us a challenge: we can accept His Words or reject them. We can live by His Words or ignore Him. We can follow Jesus or we can bow to any of the many gods of the world. But know this: Jesus is speaking for the One True God in heaven. If we reject His teachings, we reject God. If we ignore Jesus, we ignore God who sent Him. We can bow to some other idol, but we will be giving our worship to something other than the God who made us. The penalty for being a false prophet was death. The consequences for ignoring the One True Prophet of God, is no less, than, eternal death.
But praise be to God, the Word that He gives us through Jesus is nothing other than joy and life and salvation. The message that Jesus brings us from God is not judgment and punishment but grace and salvation. The Law that Jesus gives us from God is not burdensome and arbitrary but perfect and beautiful. The Word that Jesus proclaims from God is that God loves us and desires to reconcile us to Him so that we can live forever with Him for all of eternity. We might expect many things from the God who we have rejected. We might expect punishment, wrath, rejection, or even eternal destruction. Instead, through Jesus, we hear of forgiveness, mercy, adoption, and eternal life. But we are also reminded of the consequences of ignoring or rejecting His message.
We can rejoice in the lighting of the Prophet candle on the Advent wreath because God has sent His messenger with a message of love. We have heard from God through Jesus, and we hear that all is well for those who would hear this message and receive the grace of God by obeying His Prophet. How then should we respond? The same way we should respond to any true prophet: with obedience. Peter clearly tells us in our Bible passage for this week how we should respond.
Medication: A Merry Heart
The student asked the professor how many problems there would be on the final exam.
The professor looked the student over and replied, “I think you will have lots of problems on the final.”
God Bless, Press On!
St Mark’s Community Church, Janesville
New Beginnings Church, New Ulm
Verse of the Week: Romans 15:13 NIV
Today’s readings: 1 Corinthians 5 – 8