I’ve been thinking a lot about the prophets over the last few years and how they spent so much of their time trying to correct their political leaders and societies, often with no response. If Israel wanted to image God to the rest of the world and bless them, they would first have to turn from their sin and be delivered of it. But of course, we know how the story goes.
Sin’s effect upon the Biblical cosmos is vast. It seems like everything has been tainted by it—from the gods of the divine council and angels above, to human kings and slaves below. Sin and injustice are wrapped up in every component of the natural world and its unrepentant mirroring of the supernatural world. The prophets certainly had their job cut out for them.
While Jesus has come and freed us from our sins, it seems the church still needs prophets to correct and guide us back to Jesus. We still venture off into sin and injustice, and history has shown that we often do it en masse—be it the crusades, the doctrine of discovery, the endorsement of slavery, the Reich church of Nazi Germany, or current Christian nationalism (which will spiral into even greater sin if the church does not repent of it soon). Apparently, massive amounts of Jesus-followers can fall prey to sin and injustice and mimic the wrong human beings and spiritual beings in their behavior, even while proclaiming Jesus.
This has been confusing for me to witness in recent years, and I’ve found it striking that many Christians do not care to listen or change, even when we can point to Jesus’ teachings and examples. Jesus is the prophet of prophets, the deliver of deliverers, the judge of judges, and yet we often do not listen to his teachings. We are open to receiving his gifts, but not his prophetic messages and the church has suffered and is suffering greatly for it.
As we enter the wider story of the Bible, we need to continue to let Jesus wash our feet of the sin we kick up on them each day, so that we might remain clean and metamorphose into the fullness of the resurrection life available to us this side of the new creation.