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Sunday, January 13, 2013

Prophetic Troubles

Do you know of any situations where trouble is coming unless people change? What, if anything, can you do to help them? (Serendipity Bible 10th Anniversary Edition, page 1063). 

"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! (Luke 13:34 NIV).

 "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices--mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law--justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. (Matthew 23:23 NIV).

It is worth asking "why do prophets have such a tough time?" The answer is pretty much always the same. The self-righteous are enraged and scandalize that anyone could find anything at all serious about them to criticize. This is due to the fact that in order to be self-righteous, one must have carefully contained ethical imperatives. Broader implications along with the "spirit of the matter" is not to be entertained under any circumstances. Thus, for example, the self-righteous rage at anyone they consider a traitor. Yet, traitorous acts are by them carefully delimitated. Jesus was to them clearly a traitor to his religion. He was obviously worthy of death. Yet all the time, while Jesus's accusers meticulously observed the letter of the law, they flagrantly violated the spirit of the law. They were hardhearted and unforgiving and this had many practical, everyday implications resulting in their being essentially cruel to others-- thus being antithetical to the centrality of God as a loving being. They accused Jesus of traitorous acts for something that they themselves were most thoroughly and seriously guilty of. Once again the many ironies of human behavior and history are plainly evident.

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