Lenten Devotional #20 • Silencing the Prophets

Read Jeremiah 26:8-11 and John 7:25-30

We hold the memory of Biblical prophets in such high regard that we would consider the calling to be an honor. And it is, in fact an honor to be given the task to speak the very words of God. But the Old Testament prophets led a lonely, unpopular existence of threats and suffering. For most prophets, it was only after their lifetimes that they were given the honor that was due.

The reason for the unpopularity of the prophets had to do with the unpopularity of their messages. God is in charge (which means that we are not). You are sinners (which means we don’t get to set the rules). Judgment is coming if you fail to repent (we don’t get to create our own reality). Sinful humans are concerned so much with the truthfulness of the prophet so much as we are concerned with whether the prophet speaks words that fit our preferred narrative of the meaning of life. We shouldn’t be surprised when the same messages are met with similar resistance in the world today.

Jesus came speaking with even more authority than a prophet. God merely didn’t give Jesus words to speak. There was never a time when Jesus didn’t know God’s Word. He is the exact representation of a speaking God. He IS the Word. 

And like the prophets who came before Jesus, men only wanted to kill the Word. It messed with their narrative.

Prophets can be silenced with death, but how exactly do you kill God? How is that even possible? The clue given in John 7:30 lies with the phrase “his hour had not yet come.” The killing of the Word was in the hands of God alone.

Heading into the Easter season, come face to face with the Man whose deepest enemies could not affect the timing of his death, but who God willingly appointed to die. He suffered the way that the prophets suffered, but on an even more personal level. The words that the prophets spoke were hated, so death was merely a way to keep the prophets from speaking. Presumably they could have abandoned their calling and lived. But the world hated Jesus himself. They didn’t want a king who didn’t fit into their narrative. He still doesn’t fit our narrative. He calls us into His story.