Killing the Messenger – Reflection on Jeremiah 26

Lectionary reflection for the OT reading, 2nd week of Lent, Jeremiah 26:8-15


The crowd was gathered. An innocent man stood, accused of blasphemy. They cried out for his death. . . While this sounds like the scene outside of Pilate’s headquarters when the crowds cried out “Crucify Him!” and “give us Barabbas!”, it happened hundreds of years before that scene.

Here Jeremiah is the innocent man, accused of the specific blasphemy of prophesying that the temple in Jerusalem would be knocked down. This went against everything that the crowds knew. The prophets, the princes, and everyone who was supposed to be “in the know” about such things were positive that this was heresy. In the same way, the religious professionals of the day were pretty sure about this new teaching from an itinerant rabbi from Nazareth.

God’s prophetic word tends to shake things up. There is an element of prophecy that challenges our assumptions and even our best logical and reasonable work. We can empathize to some degree with the people who wanted to kill Jeremiah. We can even empathize with the people that cried out for the Crucifixion of Jesus, because don’t like things that challenge us. Instead, we want them dead.

This week may be a time for us to stop and check our work against God’s Word. Jeremiah is let off the hook because his message corresponds to something that Micah said hundreds of years earlier. Has your personal theology or understanding led you to a place where you need to be checked by the messenger of Scripture, the very Word of God Himself?

Reference: Concordia Commentary – Jeremiah Lamentations, Norman C. Habel