But they mocked the messengers of God, despised His words, and scoffed at His prophets, until His wrath arose against the people, until there was no remedy.(2 Chronicles 36:16)
We’ve looked at what it means for Jesus Christ to be our Advocate (High Priest), now we’re gonna look at what it means for us to be His advocates. This is gonna be a wild ride, so let’s dive into what it means to be a prophet!
Jesus continues to teach the crowds in parables. He tells a larger story about a farmer who plants good seed in his field while his enemy comes in the night to plant bad seed. Jesus later explains to the disciples that it was a picture of the world being a mixed bag of His good seed and Satan’s bad seed, which He will divide when He returns as Judge to gather His people and cast out Satan’s. Because of this, He tells two smaller stories that warn the people of dismissing the Kingdom due to its humble beginnings, since it will grow to become the greatest of all things! Then, He turns to His disciples and tells them two small stories to illustrate that the Kingdom is infinitely valuable, worth giving everything for. He explains why it’s so valuable in one last parable about a fishing net: He’s going to return and send His angels to separate the righteous from the wicked, gather up the wicked and cast them out into eternal judgment! By revealing these new truths in parables, Jesus is fulfilling prophecy and making His disciples stewards of old and new treasures.
The prophets of old were persecuted, marginalized, and even killed because of their dedication to speaking on behalf of God! They were men and women of sorrows, who knew trials and tribulations very well (James 5:10). Jeremiah was thrown into a gross cistern (Jeremiah 38:6), beaten (Jeremiah 20:2), and imprisoned (Jeremiah 40:1), Zechariah was stoned (2 Chronicles 24:20-21), and John the Baptist was beheaded while in prison (Matthew 14:1-12). And it doesn’t stop there! Jesus Himself was rejected, beaten and crucified; the apostles were imprisoned, stoned, beaten, killed, and abandoned for their ministry; the Church as a whole was often persecuted and oppressed for Jesus’ name, like He said they would be (Mathew 10:16-42). As prophets, we’re called to embrace the suffering we experience with joy and hope, continuing to seek God and do His will despite the pain we’re going through! Jesus even calls those who are persecuted “blessed” in His Kingdom (Matthew 5:10)! Paul (Acts 16:16-40), James (James 1:3), Peter (Acts 5:41), and Stephen (Acts 7:59-60) are all great examples of being faithful under fire. They all suffered beatings, crucifixion, stoning, slander, you name it! But they continued to forgive their enemies, praise God, and preach the Kingdom!
So how did they do it? What made them crazy enough to rejoice and keep going strong even though they had every reason to quit? It was the hope they had in Jesus! They knew He reigned as Lord at the right hand of God and would come again as Judge to deal with all injustice and evil against His people, and that gave them comfort. The author of Hebrews even says that Jesus endured the suffering of the cross because of the utter joy that was ahead of Him, and tells us to think of Him when we suffer too (Hebrews 12:2-3). But it doesn’t end there, we’re comforted and encouraged so we can encourage others. As prophets, we’re not only called to receive His comfort and encouragement, but to be a source of it! Paul even says the whole point of the spiritual gift of prophecy is to build up, encourage, and comfort (1 Corinthians 14:3)! When the Israelites were discouraged and persecuted after returning from exile because the new temple they were building was garbage, God sent the prophet Haggai to spur them to action, reminding them of the glorious hope He promised them for a new Temple. (Haggai 2:1-9)
- Jesus promised that we would face trials and tribulations in this world of all kinds. Financial struggles, relationship issues, insults, exclusion, whatever it may be for you. We face hardships and persecution on a daily basis. But He has overcome the world, and He’ll back soon to right every wrong! Until then, follow His example and look to God, knowing His promises won’t fail you. When you experience that supernatural peace, you can be a true prophet and become His instrument to heal and lift up the broken and hurting in their trials!
But one who prophesies strengthens others, encourages them, and comforts them.(1 Corinthians 14:3)