Pastor Ralph J. Mineo, St. Luke's Lutheran Church
"Danger! Danger!" (There was a robot in a science fiction show that often proclaimed that warning.) "Danger" is a basic teaching of the prophets. Not technically "predicting the future," the prophets of old are preaching a warning about the dangers of persisting in sin, taking the pathways that deny the ways of God, being unjust, self-centered, oppressive, and so on.
One of my favorite images of a prophet is the canary. Coal miners used to bring a canary with them deep in the mines. If the bird began to get sick, even die, this was a warning to the miners that the air was contaminated because the bad air affected canaries before human beings.
We sometimes need such warnings. Jesus certainly gave them often. When you read through the Old Testament prophets, you can find numerous warnings and some very dark illustrations. They can seem bleak, scary even.
But prophets didn't speak scary things just to scare people. They certainly didn't speak those things to merely complain about the world and leave it at that. They spoke the will of God to call people to repentance, to teach the will of God in case someone didn't know it. They wanted to make the world a better place.
Jesus, as prophet, was thrown out of the synagogue. His life was threatened. He was rejected, and sent to a cruel execution. As Christians, we follow this prophet, Jesus. We follow him to the cross. We obey his command: "Love one another AS I HAVE LOVE YOU."
A Prophet's Prayer