A few years back, there was a young fellow who came off the Apache Indian reservation in Arizona to become a Lutheran pastor. The idea was that the Apache’s needed their own pastor, someone from their own culture who could deliver the Word of God to them in a way no white pastor could ever do it. He was encouraged by the missionaries there and he made a big sacrifice to leave the reservation, go up to New Ulm, MN to Martin Luther College, to go to Mequon, WI to Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary. He struggled financially and made his way all the way through. But when he returned, he was rejected by his own people. He was a white man now, and it didn’t matter how dark his skin was. He had left them and they wouldn’t accept him back. Such sadness.
It is the sadness that happens to all of God’s prophets. Whether it’s a pastor, a lifetime Lutheran, or a recent convert to Christianity, we’re all prophets of God. And we must endure this sad rejection by the world. The hard thing is that we get so fired up by the gospel. And we should! And in that Holy Spirit-powered enthusiasm we share our faith, only to be rejected. There is a great temptation hidden in that rejection. The great temptation is to turn inward. Satan lures us there by making us wonder, “What did I do wrong?” You feel like this rejection is entirely your fault. “If only I would have spoken more intelligently. If only I would have spoken with more skill.”
The problem is that we are corrupt messengers. We are not perfect prophets like Jesus. Our work as prophets is often mired in finding ways we can serve ourselves and our own egos. And giving glory to God never occurs to us because we claim his glory for ourselves.
So it’s a good thing we have a perfect prophet. It’s a good thing we have Christ who did all the right things. It’s a good thing we have Christ who did everything perfectly. What you and I mess up, Christ did perfectly. Just think about it! Was there ever a person who didn’t hear about the Kingdom of God from Jesus? Was there ever a missed opportunity? Was there ever a time when Jesus proclaimed the message to get a compliment? Jesus was perfectly humble in a way we could never be, precisely because we couldn’t be that way.
So when you see Christ saying just the right thing at just the right time; when Christ fearlessly faced his detractors; when Christ perfectly proclaimed the message of salvation to souls that needed it; he was doing all of that for you.
Being a prophet of God means you must endure rejection. If that’s just a command, we’re lost. But it’s not. It’s a way of life. It’s a way of life that we can endure because we know we aren’t earning anything from God. We don’t need to make him happy, because through Christ God’s already happy with us. We don’t need to make atonement for our sins, because through Christ God has the payment for our sins. So all is right between us and God and we can simply endure rejection—it doesn’t matter what the world thinks. We can endure the rejection and tell our pride to take a hike because we are loved by God and he will never stop loving us through Christ. When you fear rejection, remember your Savior who has enabled you to endure that rejection because he has given you his perfect life.
So as God’s prophets, we’ve got nothing to prove. All we need to do is commit ourselves to the work of being God’s prophets. All the Lord asks us is to be faithful.
Keep Reading >>