Have you ever felt like you don’t measure up to God’s expectations? You are certainly not alone. Reading the Bible is often not much help in that regard. Huge portions of the scriptures seem to gouge deep into our guilt and shame. God speaks forcefully and at great length to the problem of human behavior. It is clear that He disapproves of many of our choices. The result is that we find it hard to read the Bible. It seems negative and judgmental, especially when we are already feeling distant from God.
About one-third of the Bible fits into the category of prophetic scripture. It’s interesting stuff when you take into consideration how old it is. Along with some Nostradamus like glimpses of the future it serves up a strong confrontational diagnosis of what God knows is wrong with us. Most people get a taste of prophecy and then tend to avoid the assessment of sin parts in favor of the predictive elements. It is satisfying to our curiosity to read about real historical events that were predicted hundreds of years before they happened. But the same supernatural ability God has to see future events is behind His accuracy in diagnosing the condition of human rebellion. Without a doubt that feels threatening. And it explains the love/hate relationship that people have with Jesus.
Jesus is the greatest prophet of them all. His message is a mixture of the same elements that we can find in the writings of Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel or Daniel. Jesus, as presented in the first four books of the New Testament, is the fulfillment of many of the predictions of His predecessors. Only, in this case his confrontational truth telling is tempered with an invitation to come to Him and find a way to completely meet God’s expectations. He doesn’t stop representing a Holy God. He doesn’t stop putting his finger on what’s wrong with us. What’s so amazing is his offer of a surprising way back into God’s love in spite of our track record. Jesus offers amnesty, total peace with God. Anybody interested?