Jared C. Wilson writes in Your Jesus is Too Safe that real prophets first had a specific encounter with God himself and second they admonished the nation. Thirdly, he said real prophets preach repentance. “The call to repent – to change our ways – is a third major sign in identify real prophets of God. Repentance is not just about changing our minds; it’s about really changing the way we think, in such a way that our bodies follow. ‘Repent!’ is the call to make a complete turnaround in our lives.
Did Jesus call people to repentance? All the time. In fact, he began his ministry carrying on the torch from John the Baptist: ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!’ ‘Stop what you’ve doing; drop everything!’ Jesus came into this divided and corrupted earthly world, into a culture that had been infiltrated and diluted by paganism and pluralism, into an oppressed nation ruled by a foreign king, and told everyone he encountered, ‘God’s kingdom is now coming in, and I am the king in charge. If you want to be a part of God’s re-forming nation, you will turn away from trusting the kingdom you can see and start following me into this invisible kingdom.’
Talk about audacity! That’s why it was easy for some to reject Jesus. In one incident recorded in the Gospels, Jesus remarked that prophets are not, in fact, acknowledged even in their own hometowns (Luke 4:24, John 4:44). What would happen if someone in your family or your small town came out and said, ‘Hey, I speak for God now’? And what would happen if that same person also insinuated that he was actually God himself?
You think Joseph’s brothers (of the Old Testament) hated him for his uppity dreams? Think of Jesus’ brothers. What would it be like having an older brother casting a God-sized shadow? We know, for instance, that Jesus’ brother James did not believe in him – until after the Resurrection. This is the guy who wrote the epistle of James in the Bible. So Jesus lived his whole earthly life and died on the cross without the affirmation and support of at least one of his brothers. His mother was there at the cross, but James was not.
Jesus called for repentance and thereby provided grounds for people to reject him. Their submitting to this ‘ordinary’ person’s authority required a humility that was outweighed by their pride. Still, in his commissioning, in his mode of prophesying, and in his calls of repentance that eventually led to his rejection, Jesus Christ authenticated himself as prophet of God.’
Real prophets had a specific encounter with God himself.
Real prophets admonished the nation.
Real prophets preach repentance.
A prophet warns us to be prepared.
A prophet intrudes on our space.
What irritates, disturbs and offends about Jesus the Prophet,
is that he proclaims and prophesies himself,
“I am the way, the truth, and the life.
No one can come to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).
THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.