Did you know that you're a prophet? It's true. We are a people who speak the Word of God, not only with our tongues, but with our lives, and Jesus Himself said that we should expect that the world would therefore treat us as prophets.
And as false prophets, too, if that is what we turn out to be.
He raises this idea in the Sermon on the Mount, in part in its capture in the book of Matthew and in depth in its telling in the book of Luke. When Jesus is talking about who in the world is blessed (hint: it's you), He also talks about what we should expect from the world as believers. He says, quite plainly, Blessed are you when people hate you, avoid you, insult you, and slander you because you are committed to the Son of Man. ...That's the way their ancestors treated the prophets. (Luke 6:22-23)
And ain't that the truth? When we do anything distinctly, truly Christian, that's how this world responds. They call us foolish. They call us dumb. They call us hateful. They turn their backs, afraid that our weirdness might rub off on them a little bit or a little too much. They turn their backs, then tell us that we're the ones who are backward, and they talk about us as though we are the threat to the world. They try to silence us, shouting down our truth with their own take on it. All because we are committed to the Son of Man. It is the prophet's welcome, isn't it? Jesus said that it is.
But look what He says next: How horrible it will be for you when everyone says nice things about you. That's the way their ancestors treated the false prophets. (Luke 6:26)
That one hurts, mostly because we are living in a time where the welcome we have received as prophets pains our souls, and we're longing for a way to make the Gospel more palatable to the world. We want them to believe in joy and grace and mercy and "tolerance;" we want them to find a "love" that they can relate to. We're doing our best to present Jesus in such a way that the world will love Him, although quite often, this has led us to water down His Word in very important ways.
Just look at the Christians the world loves. Look at the preachers they're tuning into. The voices that the world wants to hear are the voices telling them how great Christianity is for them, how prosperous it will make them, how it will solve all of the problems that they have in their lives. This world speaks very well of "Christians" who give them a Jesus without giving them His heart, too. This world loves preachers who don't rest on truth.
This world loves false prophets.
Jesus is not saying here that we should all go out and do our best to be hated by the world. He's not saying that we should labor to draw the disgust of the world. He's not saying we should try to cheese everyone off. That's not it at all.
What Jesus is saying is that, like it or not, our lives are a prophecy. As the people of God, our lives declare something about Him. And we need to be mindful of what it is that we're saying, not just by our words, but also by our actions. We're all prophets.
The question we have to ask ourselves is, are we true prophets? Or have we fallen off the road somewhere and become false prophets, our lives of so-called faith saying something about Jesus that He never intended to say?