Sunday, July 7, 2013

Jesus: God's Chosen Prophet

The fact that Jesus was God's Prophet - His spokesman and exemplar - is largely overlooked and downplayed by many Christian ministers. And yet, Jesus made is explicitly clear during his ministry that he was just that.

The man Jesus, God's Anointed Prophet, revealed God's will to us through his life, teachings and death. We know God our Creator's character, sense of justice and hopes for our lives through Jesus' revelations and exemplary life.

Jesus had three missions that went far beyond the traditional role of the Hebrew preacher/prophets who came before him.

He sought to warn Jerusalem of its immanent destruction, he announced the establishment of God’s Righteous Kingdom on Earth, and he sought to call people to Eternal Salvation, living as the Perfect Example of how we should gain it.

Like those ancient prophets, Jesus also warned the people of Judea that they had forsaken God, and must immediately turn back to Him. This urgent mission is spoken of repeatedly by Jesus, and is directed at the people of Israel. He clearly said those who were hearing him would see the “end of the age” and he was right. At the end of the AD 60s, the Roman Legions under Titus entered Judea and destroyed Jerusalem, completely fulfilling Jesus’ prophetic statements about the fall of that great city and the end of the Age.

But Jesus spoke not only to the nation of Israel, telling them to repent and to honor their forefathers' religion by living it more purely, but also spoke BEYOND them to the entire world, announcing the arrival of God’s Kingdom on Earth. This spiritual Kingdom would come gradually and peacefully – unlike the brutal conquest and destruction the Jews sought from their vision of a Messiah, and completely unlike the terrifying “Second Coming” expected even today by most of Christendom. This Kingdom, says Jesus, is one built on loving one’s enemies, service to others through Good Works, and love of, and reliance upon, God, and His nourishing, ongoing Grace. Jesus calls us to build this Kingdom here and now.

Jesus also spoke to us all individually, calling us to seek God’s Eternal Salvation. We are to return to God, repenting of our past sins and turning our face back to God in both love and service. After thusly being “Born Again,” Jesus tells us we must thereafter seek the high standard of God’s perfection, and assures us that we may achieve this goal by living his life as a perfect example that we are commanded to follow. We are commanded by our Master to seek God’s forgiveness when we fall short of this incredible, perfect example God wishes us to emulate, and that we must forgive others and love them as they struggle along with us.

This amazing Good and Beneficial Message (“Gospel”) is a challenge to us all to rise up in love and service to others and to God. It is a challenge we know that we can meet because of the teachings and life and death of Jesus, God’s prophet and spokesman. Let us take up the challenge!

Selected Scripture:

“Nevertheless, I must go on my way today and tomorrow and the day following, for it cannot be that a prophet should perish away from Jerusalem.” Luke 13:33

And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household.” Matt. 13:57 (also Mark 6:4 and John 4:44)

And he said to them, “What things?” And they said to him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people,” Luke 24:19

And the crowds said, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee.” Matt 21:11

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