Advent: Seeing Jesus as Prophet

Matthew 23


Mark Galli in his book, Jesus, Mean and Wild wrote:

“I once wrote an article for a leading Christian publication and in one part noted how “mean” Jesus was at times.  My seminary-educated editor deleted the paragraphs, and when I asked why, she said I was taking the verses out of context, and it would take too much space to explain that Jesus wasn’t really mean.  I replied that these were but a sampling of passages where Jesus seemed pretty intimidating.  I gave two more examples.  She stared at me hard.  Then she blinked in seeming irritation as she said:  “I can explain those too.”

The “Jesus, Meek and Mild” of Wesley’s famous hymn… is sometimes hard to recognize in the Gospels.

Witness Jesus openly:

…warn about the last judgment and hell…

…tying metaphorical millstones around the necks of those who would abuse children,

…destroying a heard of swine,

…overturning tables in theTemple

…and calling Peter:  Satan!

Jesus was like the month of March… he came in gently as a lamb in Bethlehem… but at many time in His earthly ministry:  He roared like a lion!

Now, you prophet types already know this.  This is the Jesus you are following.  The rest of us are shocked and at times scandalized by it.

So we take those passages, and like the overzealous editor, we domesticate them.  Once you scrub the passage clean you can’t smell the dead pigs, feel the crack of the whip on your back or the sting of the rebuke of Peter.  Here’s the problem.

Andrew Greeley writes:  “Once you domesticate Jesus, he isn’t there anymore.  The domestic Jesus may be an interesting fellow, a good friend, a loyal companion, a helpful business associate,…  But one thing he is certainly not:  the Jesus of the New Testament.  Once Jesus comforts your agenda, he’s not Jesus anymore.”  We need to have “ears to hear.”  And to receive the brunt of his rebuke.

Jesus confronts us with the truth.  But also… he provides remedy… if we would just accept it.

37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.”

All the OT prophets offered the relief that God promised if they would repent.  God is our Rock of Salvation!  The righteous run in and are safe.  But Jesus the prophet alone says:  I have longed to gather your children together.  He is the rock of our Salvaton!  It is Jesus we run into and are safe.

Jesus calls us out… but then calls us home.  He can do that because he is also our priest.  More on that later…

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