The World of the Prophet
What would you do if someone gave you one million dollars and then told
you to come back as often as you liked and you could have whatever money
you needed whenever you wanted? Just ask and it is yours. What if he
told you to tell all your friends and they could also come and have a
million dollars? Do you think you would tell your friends? Do you think
you would show up regularly to receive more from this very wealthy and
very generous person?
What would you think if you told your friends and they had you arrested?
What would you think if people said you were an idiot for getting money
from this generous person? What if people killed you for telling them
about this person who was giving away free money? Would you expect people
to accuse you of being narrow minded when you told people that they
couldn’t get free money from any other person? Would you expect people to
say things like, “You know if we get our money every week, we won’t really
appreciate it?” Would you expect people to hunt down this very wealthy,
very generous person and kill him?
Welcome to the world of the prophet. If you were to take my recent
examples and replace the money with forgiveness, you would exactly
describe the insanity that faces the prophet, the apostle, and all the
messengers of God. God wants to cover us in His gifts of forgiveness,
life, and salvation and for some reason, that makes people angry.
James T. Batchelor
Jaques Maritain, the great French philosopher of the last century, said
there were really only three questions that had to be answered: “Who am
I?” “Where am I?” and “Where ought I to be going?” Jesus knew who he was,
and where he was, and where he had to go. Lincoln knew. So have all great
leaders and great men and women of faith known. Do we know? Or are we out
of focus, our goals fuzzy and ill-defined? Our world is so insane, but not
any more so than the world of Jesus. Most people in his day, went to work
every day, and came home, and were pulled this way and that. And they
didn’t ask the big questions very often. We remember Jesus because he did.
William R. Boyer, As a Hen Gathers Her Brood
Under His Wings
Listen to these great hymns that were sung during Jesus’ day in the
Synagogues and Temple worship in Jerusalem.
“Hide me in the shadow of thy wings.” 17:8.
“In the shadow of thy wings I will take refuge till the storms of
destruction pass by.” 57:1
“Oh to be safe under the shelter of thy wings.” 61:4
“In the shadow of thy wings I sing for joy.” 63:7
“Under his wings you will find refuge.” 91:4
How do we know these songs were sung? They are the songs found in the book
Psalms. Psalm 17, 36, 57, 61, 63, and 91 speak of the protective wings of
God. So when Jesus expressed his desire to comfort Jerusalem he used an
image widely understood, “I have longed to gather your children together,
as a hen gather’s her chicks under her wings.” But Jesus’ desires go
unfulfilled for Jerusalem was “unwilling,” Jesus said, to receive the
shelter he offered.
But lets not miss a significant point being advanced here: In the Psalms
it is Yahweh who longs to gather Israel under his protective wings. Here
in the Gospel of Luke it is Jesus. An equation is being drawn. Jesus
equals God. How very sad then that Israel refused.
Brett Blair, www.eSermons.com.
In his Large Catechism Martin Luther describes the church: “There is on
earth a little holy flock or community of pure saints under one head,
Christ. It is called together by the Holy Spirit in one faith. I was
brought to it by the Holy Spirit and incorporated into it through the fact
that I have heard and still hear God’s Word. In this Christian church we
have the forgiveness of sins, which is granted through the holy sacraments
Martin Luther, L.C., Creed, 417:51-54.
Rejection and Refusal to Listen
Robert Fulton, an artist and engineer was responsible in the early 1800’s
for putting sailing ships out of business. He made the steamboat a
standard on the open seas. It is said that he presented his idea to
Napoleon. After a few minutes of this presentation Napoleon is reported to
have said, “What, sir, you would make a ship sail against the wind and
currents by lighting a bonfire under her decks? I pray you excuse me. I
have no time to listen to such nonsense.”
Brett Blair, www.eSermons.com.
The Old Mother Hen
Have you ever seen a chicken hawk go after its prey? The old mother hen is
often aware of the presence of the hawk in time to gather her chicks under
her wing. With a furious fuss she squawks till her brood is safe by her
side. She fluffs out her wings and protects them with her own body. The
chicken hawk dives and the old hen turns her body toward him and cocks a
wary eye without moving from her children. The predator comes in again for
the kill and the mother spreads her wings even wider. A third time he
dives only to be thwarted by the determined self-sacrifice of the mother
hen. She is too big to be a target and the chicks are too safe to be
seized so he flies away.
Brett Blair, www.eSermons.com.
In Mission, British Columbia, a fellow by the name of Ike tells the story
about his Grandpa’s hen house which burned to the ground one day. Ike
arrived just in time to help put out the last of the fire. As he and his
grandfather sorted through the wreckage, they came upon one hen lying dead
near what had been the door of the hen house. Her top feathers were singed
brown by the fire’s heat, her neck limp. Ike bent down to pick up the dead
hen. As he did the hen’s four chicks came scurrying out from beneath her
burnt body. The chicks survived because they were insulated by the shelter
of the hen’s wings.
Richard J. Fairchild
A Pompous Pretender
Jesus called Herod a fox after some Pharisees reported that Herod wanted
to kill Jesus. Jesus’ response challenged any such plans: “Tell Herod I’ve
got work to do first.” Jesus was not implying that Herod was sly, rather
he was commenting on Herod’s ineptitude, or inability, to carry out his
threat. Jesus questioned the tetrarch’s pedigree, moral stature and
leadership, and put the tetrarch “in his place.” This exactly fits the
second rabbinic usage of “fox.”
When Jesus labeled Herod a fox, Jesus implied that Herod was not a lion.
Herod considered himself a lion, but Jesus pointed out that Herod was the
opposite of a lion. Jesus cut Herod down to size, and Jesus’ audience may
have had an inward smile of appreciation at a telling riposte.
We need to start translating “fox” with its proper Hebraic cultural
meaning: A pompous pretender. Jesus was direct. Antipas was a shu•AL ben
shu•AL (a fox, the son of a fox), a small-fry.
Randall Buth, That Small Fry Herod Antipas, Or When A Fox Is Not A Fox.