Jeremiah 1.4-14 and John 9.39 – Prophesy and Judgment
Posted: 28 February 2011 in Jeremiah, John

“Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child. But the LORD said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak. Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the LORD. Then the LORD put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the LORD said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth. See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant….. And the word of the LORD came unto me the second time, saying, What seest thou? And I said, I see a seething pot; and the face thereof is toward the north. Then the LORD said unto me, Out of the north an evil shall break forth upon all the inhabitants of the land.”

“And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.”

God always creates men (and women) for a reason, and, in Jeremiah’s case, it was revealed to him that he was created for the particular purpose of being the Lord’s prophet. However, no sooner has his vocation been made known to him, than Jeremiah protests that he is not equipped for the task. This is probably important, because somebody who thought he was ideally suited to the task would, most likely, be so full of himself that there would be no room left inside him for the Holy Spirit to either occupy, or take charge of. God can always make more effective use of those who consider themselves unworthy.

Jeremiah is told that, worthy or not, he must fulfill the task appointed for him. God touches him on the mouth and, doubtless much to his surprise, Jeremiah finds himself with a fluency of speech he has never before known.

After another few verses the narrative moves on to verses 13-14. The thing which struck me here is that God is telling Jeremiah what will happen – not what might happen should his contemporaries refuse to listen to him. Being omniscient, God already knows what their response will be, and how he will then act. But this raises the question, if God already knows how Jeremiah’s hearers are going to respond to him, why does he bother sending Jeremiah to them in the first place? On the face of it, Jeremiah is wasting his time. The only answer would seem to be: So that they are without excuse when they stand before God, and he judges them.

In John 9.39, also quoted above, Jesus seems to understand his mission as being, in part, the same as Jeremiah’s. The primary reason Jesus came to earth was so that all whom the Father had given him could hear his voice, come to him, and be saved. But, as the Gospel of John also makes clear, those who do not come to Jesus will stand condemned, and the condemnation will be, as in Jeremiah’s case, that they have heard the very words of God, and rejected them.

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