Christians most likely know the story of the prophet Jeremiah, a.k.a. “the weeping prophet” who was thus dubbed because he mourned for the unrepentant people of Judah. When God announced that Jeremiah would deliver His Word to the people, Jeremiah balked, claiming he was too young, and therefore did not have the words to say to them. Besides, he argued, the people would not listen to a kid prophet anyway. We read the prophet recount, “Then the Lord put out His hand, and touched my mouth and the Lord said to me, ‘Behold, I have put my words in your mouth.’” Jeremiah was not well-received, for his was continually ridiculed, assaulted, and even toss down a well.
Yet his message was clear: “turn from your sins”. The people were not listening, and Jeremiah’s anguish was delivered to Yahweh: “O LORD, you have deceived me, and I was deceived; you are stronger than I, and you have prevailed. I have become a laughingstock all the day; everyone mocks me.” Some people did believe but they were few in numbers. The northern kingdom of Israel had already been handed over to the enemies of Israel, the Assyrians. Judah watched this happen, but it appears as though they did not believe that it could happen to them. Their sin had made their hearts hard and were confident in their perceived self-held wisdom. At one point, Jeremiah had cautioned, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)
Judging by secular, worldly standards, Jeremiah would have been considered a failure, labeled ineffective because the people did not listen to him. But we of the visible Church of Jesus the Christ should not expect the world to love us. His cross was costly beyond any complete understanding. Yet, He saved us not because we are kind, decent, and good. We’re not. He saved us because He is good. We live lives in Him of daily repentance, calling others to join us. As God warned His prophet Ezekiel, we the Church today should heed: “…[if] you do not speak to warn the wicked to turn from his way, that wicked person shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. But if you warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way, that person shall die in his iniquity, but you will have delivered your soul.” (Ezekiel 33:7-9) As Jesus said to His twelve disciples as He sent them out for the first time, “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master.” (Matthew 10:21-33)
The Church has His Word in her hands—the Holy Bible. We share His promises of salvation because, as Jesus added, “Everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.” And we share Him not to save our own hides, but for those whose lives are also valued, so loved by our Lord, whose hairs on their heads are all likewise numbered, just like yours.
Gloria Deo—Glory to God