Jesus is the prophet in the marketplace. He has no religious institution such as the temple or a rabbinic school behind him to legitimize his teaching or position in society. In his time, he seldom referred to scripture or tradition when he taught, yet he used it to address arguments from his opponents. His impact has transcended vast time and distances. In fact, his message can transform any listener’s perception of reality and create transformation in his or her life. Jesus’ authenticity—the coherence between his life and his message—has been the greatest argument for the latter.
Jesus was in the marketplace because it was the only place his message would be authentic. How could he preach about loving one’s neighbor if he isolated himself in the rabbinic courts and did not care about loving his neighbor in the marketplace? How could he talk about the Father’s unconditional love if he refused to heal just because it was the Sabbath?
Jesus’ priesthood is not limited to his death and resurrection. The Gospels assume that the significance of his ministry is equally be known through his daily works and dealings with all sorts of people. Apparently, it is a ministry that has transcended social boundaries. Jesus crossed the line that separated the Jew from the Gentile. He engaged in conversations with complete strangers. He healed indiscriminately, sometimes without being asked.
In his teachings, Jesus insisted on the necessity of integrity and the destructive outcome of hypocrisy. He did not use fancy evangelistic methods to convince people to obey his teaching. He uttered the word, let it fall where it should, and respected the freedom of the people to accept or to refuse his message.
Jesus the priest makes no effort to create a religion that might substitute for the actual encounter with TRUTH. He aims less to structure his listeners’ approach to the sacred than to spark their encounter with the HOLY. As a result, his teaching has about it a quality of incomplete-ness. It is not a closed, finished whole, but asks to be completed in the lives of the hearers. Even Jesus’ choice of the medium by which his message would originally be preserved suggests this: he neither wrote it down nor had his disciples commit it to rote memory, but relied on their being transformed by it and then reproducing it in a manner that would enable the process of transformation to continue for others in new and changed contexts.[i]
Not only does the Book of the Month Club provide a pathway to knowledge, wisdom and insight, it also sets you up to be in attendance at the Spring Session of Prophecology 2018: Birthing House: The Latter Rain, February 23-25, 2018.
Go and join the club now!
How can you be like Jesus and be a prophet in your specific marketplace?