Off With Their Heads
Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered. Acts 7:52
For all of our laments about the state of the world today, there is really nothing new under the sun. We complain about the moral decay of our culture as if this is something new. We want prophets who will wield the Law and condemn the sins of others, but we have no interest in hearing the voice of prophets who call us to repentance for our own sins. Like the rest of the world, we would rather fast forward through Advent straight to Christmas without the shrill voice of John the Baptist.
We are no different than those who heard Stephen’s condemnation, “Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute.” Stephen’s words were met with stones. John’s proclamation of the Law led to his losing his head. In our day, we also reject the prophetic Word and those who have been called to proclaim it. Rather than stones and swords, the prophets today are persecuted by group texts and secret chat groups, where reputations are not protected and things are not explained in the kindest way. Instead, prophets are wounded for the Word of God that they are called to speak on His behalf.
God, in His infinite wisdom, sent the prophets to prepare the way for the coming Messiah. John followed in a train of prophets throughout the ages who were God’s chosen instruments to call sinners to repentance so that in the promised Christ they would receive the forgiveness of sins. If there is no sin, there is no need for Christ. But we are no different than those who heard the voices of John and Jeremiah. We are sinners whom our Lord calls to repent and for whom our Savior Jesus died. As we begin this Advent season, let us not rush past the voice of the prophets to the song of the angels. Instead, may we hear the Word as it pierces our own hearts, but also as it heals and renews us that through faith in Christ, we might look forward to His Second Advent with joy and expectation, awaiting the restoration of all things in Him.
Prayer - Stir up Your power, O Lord, and come, that by Your protection we may be rescued from the threatening perils of our sins and saved by Your mighty deliverance; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Fraternally in Christ,
President Lee Hagan