Mark Twain has been quoted as saying, “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it sure does rhyme.” This is especially true when we study the Old Testament, always looking toward the New Testament. Augustine said, “The New Testament is in the Old concealed. The Old Testament is in the New revealed.” Events from the Old Testament, called types, often foreshadow events in the New Testament, called antitypes. The antitypes, or fulfillments, are always greater than their types. As we explore our readings for today, we recognize Jeremiah as a type of Jesus. Opposing forces gather around the great prophet and, as we will see, the plot thickens! The connections to Jesus are unmistakable. Read on…
Read Jeremiah 18:18-20 – The Plot Thickens
Jeremiah, like all the prophets, was given the task of speaking the Word of God. To speak prophetically often means confronting the people with their sin and calling them to repentance. Such was the calling of Jeremiah. His commission was to warn Judah of the impending judgement that would fall on them if they did not turn from their sinful ways. The people had been worshiping false gods and making sacrifices to them. You might imagine that Jeremiah’s constant confrontation of their treachery engendered ill will from those who rather enjoyed their sinful lifestyle.
When we arrive at verse 18, a plot has been hatched to dispense with Jeremiah. The people of Judah and the citizens of Jerusalem conspired against the man of God. Despite the evil nature of the murderous plan, they rationalize, “There are other priests. There are other wise men who can counsel us. There are other prophets who might say what we want to hear.” As the plot thickens, they devise a scheme to listen to Jeremiah carefully and note his every word. They will then contrive false accusations that will serve to condemn him.
(Aside: This scenario reminds me of folks today who choose a church based on what they like and enjoy. They aren’t too concerned about whether or not the church preaches the truth or if the worship is Scriptural. In fact, for those so inclined, comfort and entertainment are much more important than faithfulness to God’s Word. While few plot the demise of the pastor, they do not hesitate to move to another church that better suits their fancy and meets their “needs”. 2 Timothy 4:3 says it well. “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions…”)
Jeremiah turns to God for help. Can these folks be plotting his demise when he was only trying to help them avoid catastrophe? Were they really going to repay goodness with evil? Would they really dig a pit to take his life? Would they perpetrate such a crime, even after he had taken up for them with God and tried to assuage God’s wrath?
What a strange and bitter pill, that the man of God, they’d seek to kill. Read on…
Read Matthew 20:17-19 – THE Plot Thickens!
Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem with His disciples. As they journeyed, He took His travelling companions off to the side to let them in on some “inside information.” Jesus reveals THE plot that is about to unfold when they arrive in the Holy City. In fact, this evil scheme sounds eerily familiar! Jesus, the Son of man, will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes. The religious leaders will falsely accuse Jesus of blasphemy. Matthew 26:19 is the fulfillment of Jesus’ prediction. “Now the chief priests and the whole council were seeking false testimony against Jesus that they might put him to death.” Jesus went on to give more development of this thickening plot. He would be condemned to death, handed over to the Gentiles (Romans), and be mocked, scourged and crucified, and on the third day, He would be raised from the dead.
The similarities with Jeremiah 18 are uncanny. Jesus had come to call the unfaithful to repent lest they fall under the righteous judgment of God. Now, those He came to save have rejected Him and are seeking His death. Jesus had come, not just as a prophet, but as the long awaited Messiah. Jesus had come, not just as a messenger of the Word of God, He is the Word of God! Jesus had come not only to warn of the curse, but, He had come to reverse the curse. And, Jesus had come not just to offer forgiveness, but to offer a new life! What was the response to His coming? He was “despised and rejected” (Isaiah 53:3).
With each step toward Jerusalem, the tension mounts. The pervasive undercurrent of evil, the ground swell of wicked intentions, and the whispering hiss of shadowy schemers leads to an overwhelming sense of gathering darkness. Yet, with Jesus, we move ever forward into the dark night of depravity. Just ahead, a city awaits whose citizens desperately need for Jesus to bring them salvation. Yet, this same cadre of the accursed will disregard their own sin and condemn the sinless Christ to be crucified. In every sense, the plot thickens!