“‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,and before you were born I consecrated you;I appointed you a prophet to the nations.’ Then I said, ‘Ah, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth.’ But the Lord said to me, ‘Do not say, I am only a youth; for to all to whom I send you, you shall go, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of them,
for I am with you to deliver you,
declares the Lord.’ Then the Lord put out his hand and touched my mouth. And the Lord said to me, ‘Behold, I have put my words in your mouth. See, I have set you this day over nations and over kingdoms, to pluck up and to break down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant. And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, ‘Jeremiah, what do you see?’ And I said, ‘I see an almond branch.’ Then the Lord said to me, ‘You have seen well, for I am watching over my word to perform it.'”
We’re not Jeremiah. We don’t have the exact promise he did, that we will be prophets who speak God-breathed words (the New Testament describes the words of Scripture as God-breathed, or “theoneustos”). But we are a part of the proclaiming, preaching, speaking, and singing of God’s Word for the world. We are, as the church of Jesus Christ that He built and bought, a part of His mission.
Jeremiah was a prophet with a message to speak, a God-given task to accomplish. But Jesus is greater than Jeremiah. He has more authority than Jeremiah. And Jesus has chosen to enlist us in His mission.
Same Bible, same God, same Gospel. But what Jeremiah spoke of without seeing we proclaim as fully realized: God in the flesh, here to redeem those who will repent and believe. God come, crucified, resurrected, and seated as King.
At the end of His earthly incarnation, Jesus enlisted His disciples, and through their testimony and His Scripture the church, in His mission of proclaiming the Gospel to the ends of the earth. If you are a true Christian, a follower of Lord Jesus, then you have been bought and paid for and grafted into that mission.
Jeremiah was nervous. But Jesus, the ultimate witness and martyr, is not. He knows how this story ends, and He has chosen us to be a part of it.
God uses a play on words (the Hebrew word for “almond” sounds like the one for “watch”) to say that He is watching over His Word to perform it. To make sure it happens. To accomplish its purposes. To accomplish His purposes.
God has chosen us, justified us, cleansed us, and commissioned us. He is unchanging but always moving. He is sanctifying, sending, adopting, and conquering. He will send us to all, and some may repent though many reject. Those who hear and believe will join us in worship of our Father’s glory, and those who deny and stay in their sin will receive just judgment. Our God has brought us into this great task.
Let us tremble with awe and move swiftly with joy.