A portion of today's Old Testament reading:
"I did not send the prophets,
yet they ran;
I did not speak to them,
yet they prophesied.
But if they had stood in my council,
then they would have proclaimed my words to my people,
and they would have turned them from their evil way,
and from the evil of their deeds." (Jeremiah 23:31-22)
Today's reading does two things:
- It preaches a word of law to any false teacher, and it
- Reminds us how fortunate we are to have pastors and teachers who build us up in true teaching of the Gospel, and the right administration of the sacraments.
There are wolves in sheep's clothing still today. Men and women that claim to be "called by God," and who take for themselves Christ's pulpit. It may not be so easy to see their fangs, or to discern the deadly word that flows from their mouth--a word that distorts the sweet Gospel burdens consciences with the Law. But, rest assured they will receive their "reward."
On the other hand, rejoice and be glad if your pastor is rightly called, approved by the church, and placed into the Holy Office by Christ himself. Give thanks if your pastor stands in the council of the LORD (v. 22), studying the Scriptures, so that sermons would not be his word, but God's Word--that is, the sweet proclamation of Law and Gospel.
Indeed, there are many false prophets still today. But thanks be to God, he still sends his true preachers and teachers to declare the wonderful works of God. And through that message, faith is both created and sustained, and the church is built on the confession of Christ alone. Amen.