Dear First Family and Friends,
Have you ever experienced being “the messenger?” It’s great to be asked to deliver “good news.” But how about being the bearer of bad news … or hard news? In my Air Force career, I received a lot of good news. But one day, I got called into the General’s office to hear bad news. “Jim, I have some bad news. You didn’t get selected for promotion.” It wasn’t the General’s fault. He was just the messenger. I really feel for people like doctors who need to tell patients they have a serious illness … or lawyers who have to tell people their case is hopeless … or friends who have to tell friends they’re making a huge mistake. In these cases, I’m reminded of the old saying, “Don’t shoot me! I’m just the messenger.”
Jeremiah was just the messenger. But what He had to say didn’t please the religious and political elites of Judah. They heard Jeremiah’s words, but didn’t listen because they didn’t like what he had to say. They rejected his message from God in the harshest terms possible, “You shall die!” (Jeremiah 26:8) If anyone could’ve said, “Don’t shoot me! I’m just the messenger,” it’s Jeremiah and the rest of God’s prophets. Jeremiah told those threatening him, “The Lord sent me to prophesy against this house and this city all the words you have heard. Now mend your ways ...” (Jeremiah 26:12-13) The people he spoke to weren’t acting as God commanded. But rather than destroy them, God, in His love and mercy, sent His prophet Jeremiah to warn them, “Obey the voice of the Lord your God, and the Lord will relent of the disaster that He has pronounced against you.” (Jeremiah 26:13) Nevertheless, the priests, false prophets, and officials of Judah all turned their backs on God’s prophet.
Centuries later, Jesus returned to Jerusalem, the place where many of God’s prophets were killed for being “the messenger.” Jesus reminds us of the Father’s love. It’s a love that caused Him to put His word in the mouths of prophets to warn Israel and Judah of their sin. It’s a love that caused Him to send His Son, Jesus, to do the same and more. God wants the world to remember His love. “God so loved the world that He sent His only Son, that all who would believe in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) God doesn’t want any of His creatures to die.
This Lent we remember all God has done for us out of love. Why has He gone to such great lengths – sending His prophets … sending His Son … sending His church – into the world to proclaim His love for all to hear? Because He loves His creation. He desires for His creation to return to Him … to believe His Word and promise … to receive His mercy and grace … to find protection against the devil and his lies in Him. This Lent, I pray you can spend a little extra time listening to God’s messengers. As you do, I pray you find protection in remembering God’s love for you … expressed through the life, suffering, death, and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ.
In His Love,