Heeding the Prophet


Ordinary Time
January 22, 2018

Scripture Reading: Deuteronomy 18:15-20

The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you shall heed such a prophet. This is what you requested of the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you said: ‘If I hear the voice of the Lord my God any more, or ever again see this great fire, I will die.’ Then the Lord replied to me: ‘They are right in what they have said. I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their own people; I will put my words in the mouth of the prophet, who shall speak to them everything that I command. –Deuteronomy 18:15-18

A follower of Christ cannot read the above scripture without picturing Jesus as this prophet, one the Jewish community still awaits. While we claim the calling and the title of Christ, do we heed this prophet’s teachings? I fear we invest a lot of time at the least putting our words in his mouth, at worst redrawing him in our image. Jesus’ teachings are hard, particularly in the “me first” world in which we find ourselves.

Matthew 5:41: and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile.

Matthew 7:1-3: ‘Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye?

Matthew 7:12: ‘In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets.’

Matthew 18:21-22: Then Peter came and said to him, ‘Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?’ Jesus said to him, ‘Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times.

Matthew 22:39b: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

We, of course, are called to follow all of these actions all the time. Sometimes when we are having trouble with one or the other, it might be a good idea to set aside a period of concentration on one of the more difficult teachings. Letting Christ do his job as judge, while my assignment is loving the other is perhaps the toughest. For some reason, we must think we will rise in Christ’s opinion of us if we are better than someone else. The very opposite of that is true throughout Jesus’ teachings. Indeed, he said, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” (Matthew 25:40b)

The above review just skims the surface surveying only Matthew for Jesus’ teachings on how to heed the prophet that we know as the Christ. Perhaps we might want to review his teachings one more time.

Prayer:  God, forgive me when I put my words in your mouth. Open my eyes that I may see your truth as I glean the scriptures. Amen.

All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights are reserved.