My Thoughts . . .
Have you ever heard about something happening and wondered why it did? Once when I was having my car serviced a man ran out of a beer joint across the highway, stopped and turned around. Another man ran out with a pistol. He started shooting at the first man. I was wondering what the man being shot at had said to the shooter for that individual to want to kill him? Apparently, the shooter was drunk or not a marksman because he emptied the pistol without hitting the man which he hoped to put bullet holes in. Jesus asked his apostles who men were saying he was. Three names were given. 1) John the Baptist, 2) Elijah, and 3) Jeremiah. Have you ever wondered why Jesus was thought to be one of those three?
Why would anyone compare Jesus to John? Did they dress alike? No. They were related, but not enough that Jesus appeared to be John’s identical twin. John did not drink because of his vow. Jesus did and was falsely accused of being a wine bibber and glutton (Matthew 11:19; Luke 7:34). John did not perform miracles. He immersed people. He immersed Jesus, but the Lord did not immerse others but left that action for his disciples to perform.
Elijah did performed miracles but why would people believe Jesus was the resurrected prophet? The angel told Zacharias that he would have a son who “shall go before his face in the spirit and power of Elijah” (Luke 1:17). Matthew states that John the Baptist was a fulfillment of Isaiah 40:3. Elijah would return to announce the coming of the Messiah. Yet some in Peter’s crowd in Acts 2 were among those who shouted, “Crucify him” (Mark 15:13-14). If Jesus was Elijah, why would they desire to kill that prophet? They respected him. If John the Baptist personified Elijah, then Jesus was the Messiah their prophet Elijah (John) was proclaiming!
Jeremiah was a prophet, but most of the people rejected his message and wished him dead. Jesus’ ministry lasted about three and a half years. Jeremiah preached for about fifty. Although “repentance” was part of both men’s preaching, it is difficult to understand how Jesus could be mistaken as a resurrected Jeremiah. Jews in Jesus day did not want to kill Jeremiah, they honored him. Perhaps it was easier to believe Jesus was a resurrected or personification of Jeremiah than to admit he was God in the flesh. I doubt if Jews in that day wanted to kill Jeremiah, but they did kill Jesus.
Those who thought Jesus was a resurrected John, Elijah, or Jeremiah recognized those three as God fearing men who preached God’s will. If they thought Jesus was a personification of all three, Peter’s sermon convicted them of their sin in crucifying our Lord (Acts 2:36-37). The switch from categorizing Jesus as John, Elijah, or Jeremiah to wanting him dead, highlights the inconsistencies of man. Even in the church some proudly declared they were followers of Peter, Paul, Apollos, and Christ. Yet Paul pointed out how each division was digressive rather than something to proudly join. Those who claimed to follow Peter, Apollos, Paul, or Jesus honored the one they claimed to follow. Yet each thought their division was the correct one. It is a sin to be a part of a division even for those who claimed to follow Jesus. Why? It divides the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 1:10-13). It was sinful then and still is.
Have you ever wondered why we follow inconsistency as if it was the truth?