Some days I wonder where the John the Baptist of this age is when we need him. I read the
news and I follow the headlines and I find myself wishing someone would speak a word of
sanity into our age. I find myself wondering where the prophet of our age with a great message
of righteousness is.
We saw last week in Mark 6 how John spoke a word of righteousness against the immoral
relationship of Herod and Herodias. Some days I wish someone would do that in our broken
world against all manner of evil around us. Do you ever think like that?
Of course I should know better. Proclaiming righteous truth didn’t work out so well for John.
He went up against the Herod family and he lost his head.
Even before John the Baptist many Prophets only served God reluctantly. When the Lord
spoke to a young Jeremiah and appointed him a prophet to the nations he responded in
“Oh no, Lord, GOD! Look, I don’t know how to speak since I am only a youth.”
When Isaiah, before his calling, saw his vision of the Lord he responded in total fear:
“Woe is me for I am ruined because I am a man of unclean lips and live among a
people of unclean lips” (Is 6:5)
And who can forget how Jonah ran away when he was commanded:
“Get up! Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because their
wickedness has confronted Me.” (Jonah 1:1)
If it wasn’t for the fact that the Lord God stood behind each of these prophets then I doubt
they ever would have been prophets in the first place. It was God’s comforting words that
confirmed Jeremiah’s commitment:
Do not say: “I am only a youth,” for you will go to everyone I send you to and speak
whatever I tell you. 8 Do not be afraid of anyone, for I will be with you to deliver
you. (Jer 1:7-8)
So, where is the prophet of righteousness we need today? The history of reluctant and
persecuted Prophets suggests we should not put our hope in a new one coming along any
time soon. Instead, we would do well to hear the words of Hebrews 1 :
Long ago God spoke to the fathers by the prophets at different times and in different
ways. 2 In these last days, He has spoken to us by His Son. God has appointed
Him heir of all things and made the universe through Him. 3 The Son is the radiance
of God’s glory and the exact expression of His nature, sustaining all things by
His powerful word. After making purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand
of the Majesty on high. (Hebrews 1:1-4)
The prophet of our age has spoken with finality! If you are waiting for a new prophet to come
then you have missed the point. In Jesus, God has spoken to us a powerful message and
we need no more: forgiveness of sins is made possible through faith in Jesus’ death for you.
This is a great message which needs no new Prophet. However, what is needed is messengers
- people who are willing to share the good news of Jesus with others. As daunting as it
might seem and as reluctant as we might feel: God has wonderfully chosen to pass on his
great message through his people.
Instead of waiting for someone else to solve the problems of our world we would do well to
spend our time and effort following in the footsteps of the reluctant young Timothy to whom
I solemnly charge you before God and Christ Jesus, who is going to judge the living
and the dead, and because of His appearing and His kingdom: 2 Proclaim the
message; persist in it whether convenient or not; rebuke, correct, and encourage
with great patience and teaching. 3 For the time will come when they will not
tolerate sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, will multiply teachers for
themselves because they have an itch to hear something new. 4 They will turn away
from hearing the truth and will turn aside to myths. 5 But as for you, be serious about
everything, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
(2 Tim 4:1ff)
The world doesn’t need a new Prophet of righteousness. It needs a messenger like you -
someone who is willing to pass on the good news of Jesus. So pass it on!