Summary: We are all called to prophets just as Ezekiel was called.
When God’s Your Boss…
Jesus returned home to Nazareth
was he coming home to rest?
to visit family?
see old friends?
Whatever his reasons
he brought his disciples with him this time.
Maybe he came to Nazareth
as one of his stops along his travels
to share again with them the “good news”
But Jesus had already been there
and was rejected.
And now again
although Jesus offered knowledge of the Kingdom of God
his hometown received him not.
Their questions were
How can he do this?
What right does he have to say this?
And Jesus closes the episode at home
with a phrase that has always caught my attention:
Prophets are not without honor,
except in their hometown,
and among their own kin,
and in their own house.”
Ever had a hand craft you did well?
a project you completed?
even a picture you painted?
Then you get it out to show off
-- just a little –
and received the HO, HUM treatment
That’s nice (yawn)
Then you have an idea of how Jesus felt
how prophets have felt down through the years.
Look at Ezekiel in our first lesson:
God even tells him
that Israel will refuse to hear him
“I am sending you … to a nation of rebels”
God is saying
A Prophet is great
except in his own country!
Ezekiel comes from the time period
when prophets were in their prime
Kings ruled the Northern and Southern Kingdom of Israel.
And the kings had court appointed prophets
who were supposed to be speaking for God
but if you are employed by the king
who would you represent:
God and his usually unpopular judgments against the King
OR the King?
So God had to send his own prophets
Prophets looked at history only in terms of the divine.
In other words,
Prophesy is the expression of God’s divine purpose
to the Kings and people of Israel.
So what did a prophet do?
1) A prophet received the spirit of God
Isaiah’s says that
the spirit of the sovereign Lord is upon me.
Ezekiel receives God’s spirit
and is told to stand up
and go and speak God’s will.
2) A prophet is sent by God.
Jeremiah says, “I cannot go, I am only a youth.”
God says, “I will put my words in your mouth.”
Ezekiel has the mission “I send you to a nation of rebels”
and God gives them the prophetic formula
SAY: Thus says the Lord God:
3) A prophet also has an unpopular message
Ever heard a prophet with a good message?
You’re going to win the Ohio State Lottery!
OR You will conquer the world!
Oh, sure some had good news:
Nathan told David
that God would establish his kingdom forever.
Jeremiah spoke of the return of the Babylonian Exiles.
But the prophets usually spoke doom and gloom.
Because of your alliances with foreign nations
and your forsaking of trust in God
you will be destroyed!
sent into captivity!
REPENT OR DIE!
4) A prophet will probably not be well received
Now that a prophet is ready to go out
he finds out that the odds are
that people won’t even listen to what he has to say!
God promised the prophets
a stubborn people
who will not listen.
The position of prophet
was always unique and difficult.
Very few people actually applied for the job
and consider the odds:
Being an outcast or Stoned to death
if people didn’t like your prophesy.
God is lucky any took the job!
Now sometimes they didn’t have much choice:
Jeremiah said he was too young
and God promised to put the words into his mouth.
A spirit entered Ezekiel,
set him on his feet,
And told him what to say!
But whether or not the people heard
or refused to hear
they would know that there has been a prophet among them
Get stoned to death or ostracized
just so that the people will know that God has sent a prophet!
When God is your boss
you might hope for a better success rate!
What is the point in all of this?
Wouldn’t God find prophets easier to recruit
with a better success rate?
And God simply answers:
whether they hear or refused to hear
they will know that there has been a prophet among them
That’s all we can hope for
because that’s all God expects from us:
to be faithful to his will and purpose.
that’s all God expects from us:
to be faithful to his will and purpose.
For he has called you and I to be prophets.
to tell of his marvelous deeds:
How he sent Jesus to die on the cross
to take away our sin
by rising from the dead.