Rejecting the Revealer

By calling Himself a prophet, Jesus consciously places Himself in the long line of God’s messengers who were rejected by their own people. Jesus referred several times to the suffering and death of previous prophets:” For so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (5:12). “You [Scribes and Pharisees] are sons of those who murdered the prophets” (23:31). He acknowledge John the Baptist as a prophet, “And more than a prophet” (11:9) and rebuked the Jews for not honoring that great man of God (11:18). When He was warned that Herod sought to kill Him, he replied, “It cannot be that a prophet should perish outside of Jerusalem” (Luke 13:33). Thus, while expressing His faith that He was invulnerable until His time had come, He also accurately predicted His final fate in the city of Israel’s kings. God’s messengers will be persecuted! And, as Jesus clearly announced at the outset of His ministry, all who would follow Him faithfully will also suffer persecution. Why? Because they, too, proclaim the word of God to a hostile world. But that is not the final fact, for Jesus also said, “Rejoice and be exceedingly glad [when slandered] for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (5:12).