Thursday, February 12, 2009

Jesus Calls Himself a Prophet

And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, "Prophets are not without honor except in their own country and in their own house." Matthew 13:57 NRSV

"Yet today, tomorrow and the next day I must be on my way, because it is impossible for a prophet to be killed outside of Jerusalem." Luke 13: 33 NRSV

Although Jesus never went around telling people that he was a prophet, many of his actions signified or repeated prophetic-type actions. Overall, however, he was very different - he ate with sinners, for instance. But there were at least two times in the gospels when Jesus seems to be referring to himself as a prophet.

In Matthew, Jesus is not having a good homecoming. The folks he grew up with just can't accept what he is doing as they know him and his family. He understands what is going on as he says that prophets just aren't accepted in their own homes. Likewise, in Luke's gospel, he is responding to the threat of King Herod by hinting at his own demise. He is going to stay away from Jerusalem until it is time for him to give up his life because he knows prophets are not killed outside of that great city.

Although it is interesting to see that Jesus does refer to himself as a prophet it is equally as interesting to see that he does not refer to himself in that manner very often. Is this a case of some scrupulous editing by the Gospel writers or simply the result of the oral history about Jesus? In either case, we Christians have been given the understanding that Jesus is NOT just a prophet. And the words we do have from Jesus support this understanding.

God, help us to listen to what Jesus says to us. Then let us go and do likewise. In His name, Amen.

Copyright 2009 Amelia G. Sims

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