Summary: Jesus was confrontational, uncomfortable even

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Jesus the Prophet – “Portraits of Christ series”

Matt. 12:1-14 – Steve Simala Grant – Jan. 19/20, 2002


This is the CNN report from December 18, 2000:

MEXICO CITY, Mexico -- Fire lit the sky Monday night as lava, rock and ash spewed from Mexico’s Popocatepetl (pronounced poh-poh-kah-TEH-peh-til) volcano, which erupted shortly after 7:30 p.m. (0130 GMT).

Many of the 40,000 residents within six miles (9.6 kilometers) of the volcano’s base remained in their homes, despite being urged by officials to evacuate.

For more than two days, officials have urged some 40,000 people living within 6 miles (10 kilometers) of the volcano to leave the area. But most have ignored the pleas, preferring to stay behind to guard their belongings and livestock.

On Monday, some residents began to rethink their decision.

"They already told us to leave, but we didn’t believe them -- until last night. Now we are scared," said Javier Hernandez, 71, huddled about one fire with five other men. Six female relatives slept under blankets in the back of a nearby pickup.

"We didn’t sleep at all last night," he said. "It was thundering loudly."

Scientists have warned that a dome of lava at the base of the 17,886-foot (5,366-meter) volcano is causing pressure to build inside the mountain. That could trigger a strong eruption, throwing rocks and other debris for miles.

"It’s like a pressure cooker," Creel said. "It could lead to a situation the likes of which we’ve never seen."

Families swaddled in blankets gathered around roadside fires as the sun came up, nervously glancing at the steaming crater above them.

People in the area have grown accustomed to the vapor, ash and lava that the volcano has been spewing intermittently for the past six years. Still, this week has been one of its most active in years, and tremors have shaken nearby towns.”

We generally think of prophecy as future-telling. We think of Isaiah looking ahead hundreds of years and describing how Jesus would be born and would suffer as a servant. But that is generally an incorrect way of viewing prophecy: generally, the prophet was concerned with an immediate situation and threat to God’s people. They usually function like the scientists in the news story – they have more information, a view from on high, and can thus warn the people about what is to come. Unfortunately, the people’s reaction is generally like that of the 40 000 people who ignored the plea.


When identifying the major roles Jesus filled, it is common to list them as prophet, priest, and king. For completeness, we should also include the role of “wise man,” or “teacher of wisdom.” These were roles that people of Jesus’ day were familiar with and understood, and they saw Jesus as filling those roles. Today I want to look at Jesus the Prophet, to see what portrait of Jesus we see and what this means for us, and in the coming weeks we will explore the other common designations. We are going to look at one particular story in Jesus’ life where we see him in this role.

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