Thursday, August 22, 2013

Serving a Generation You’ll Never See

I don’t think I could cut it as an Old Testament prophet. I’ve eaten too much McDonald’s.

Read this from 1 Peter 1:10-12:

“…the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ was indicated when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have not been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look”.

These prophets saw the gospel. They knew that a Rescuer was coming that would suffer and then be brought to glory. They didn’t see it fully but they saw it. And they wanted to know when. 5 years? 10 years? 20 years? Nope. A future generation that they will never see.

That’s why I say I couldn’t hack it. I’d have questioned my calling. My abilities as a prophet. My message. Everything.

A Prophets Death Story…

When I picture prophets I picture guys with long beards, dressed up dead camel, and eating weird food. And in my minds eye I see them preaching—hard. Sweat rolling off their brows as they call people to repent. Tears streaming down their face urging fellow Israelites to return to Yahweh and find refuge in Him alone.

And I picture people ignoring him. But only for a season. Eventually, towards the end of his life, he gets to tell an amazing story to his grandkids. He tells them about the time he told everybody what was going to happen but nobody listened to him. Then it happened. And everybody realized he was correct and now they’ve got a book with all of his writings in them. He’s a difference maker and he dies knowing it.

In reality he probably just died without an “I told you so”. Because the story was still not finished when he breathed his last. People were still rejecting his message and running from Yahweh. The Deliverer had not yet come. And the world went on mostly as it did before—but now with a dead prophet.

But he did die in hope. And that’s probably the story that he told his grandkids. Not of a completed mission but of a Rescuer that was still to come. One that would set all things right. As his eyes closed for the last time they died in hope that he’d be delivered into the hands of this Rescuer that he’d been waiting for. And someday…someday…people would get it…they’d see this suffering Servant and be included in His glory.

Comes to Life

He never saw that day when some 2500 years later a young man in rural Missouri bowed a knee to this suffering Servant. He never saw his life changed and transformed—him captivated by words long written down by this dead prophet. Words that somehow—miraculously—spoke the Living Word. And words that this young man would one day preach. Yes, he too would preach in the hope that someday, someone, somewhere, would get it, and they too would bow a knee to the Rescuer.

Maybe as a preacher of the risen Christ I’m not so different from the camel-clothed prophet that proclaimed the coming Rescuer. So may I preach and teach and lead in the same hope and humility that maybe the good news I preach will serve a generation that I’ll never see.

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