Jesus’ warnings to religious leaders: don’t become cynical

When I was a young minister I would drive miles to the other end of the country if I heard that God was doing something. People would say to me that no one should have to do that. I was told that If God was wanting to do something He would do it right here without any need to travel. They were not generous to what He was doing. They had become cynical to His move.

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous. And you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ So you testify against yourselves that you are the descendants of those who murdered the prophets. Go ahead, then, and complete what your ancestors started!” (Matthew 23 v 29-32)

That generation were more responsible than all simply because the prophets all spoke of this moment when the Messiah would be standing in front of them. But they did not recognise Jesus and would be instrumental in his crucifixion. Further they had elaborate tombs for these prophets and yet do not speak about how those prophets were killed.

The prophet Zechariah was killed by stoning because he spoke against the rebellion of God’s people (2 Chronicles 24). Their ancestors did this. Zechariah not only prophesied Jesus would come but he even prophesied his betrayal by the 30 silver coins (Zechariah 11).

It is easy to be generous towards the past when the past has proven the prophet correct.

But when the prophet is moving in the present and speaking of the future then we are tempted to be less so. We can become sceptical and dismissive; if God was going to speak He would do it through a different person, through me, right?

I wonder how many messages we have missed and how many acts of power we have ignored simply because we were not generous to what He was doing right in front of our eyes.

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