Written by Paul J. Bucknell on November, 14, 2019
Jeremiah, Jesus, and Judgment
“He who stays in this city will die by the sword and by famine and by pestilence, but he who goes out to the Chaldeans will live.” (Jeremiah 38:2)
Jeremiah and Jesus
I never made the connection between Jeremiah’s and Jesus’ message before. Jeremiah’s message, like David’s words of the Messiah, foreshadows prophetic messages of the Great Prophet Jesus (Heb 1:1-2).
Perhaps, I’m a bit like you. I like the online Bible reading plans but always struggle through the long repetitive doomsday passages of Jeremiah the Prophet. But I kept reading through Jeremiah about the inevitable coming judgment upon Israel and other nations. I know how much I and all of God’s people need to seek His Word each day, and so I came back to the Lord and sought Him to teach me. So these reflections, like many of my articles, came from my ‘quiet time’ with God.
As I read Jeremiah 37 and 38, I noticed Jeremiah again spoke about the coming judgment upon Jerusalem. He kept telling King Zedekiah that he should escape Jerusalem by going out to the enemy. Things would go better for him and the Israelites if he did.
The words that Jeremiah was speaking to all the people, saying, 2 “Thus says the Lord, ‘He who stays in this city will die by the sword and by famine and by pestilence, but he who goes out to the Chaldeans will live and have his own life as booty and stay alive.’ 3 Thus says the Lord, ‘This city will certainly be given into the hand of the army of the king of Babylon and he will capture it.’” (Jeremiah 38:1-3)
Of course, King Zedekiah’s officials were totally against Jeremiah’s doomsday message. Jeremiah’s message sounded like mutiny and discouraged the people due to the admittance of defeat. But Jeremiah had insightful advice for the king and the people. An examination of Jeremiah’s prophecy against the false prophets (Jeremiah 37:19) depicted his predictions to be accurate and trustworthy, but most refused to listen to Jeremiah. Some, though, did listen (Jer 38:19).
Foreshadowing Jesus’ Message
My Bible reading plan sandwiched the above Jeremiah passage with Luke 21. Let me first share how I saw Jeremiah as a prophetic type of Jesus.
20 “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that her desolation is near. 21 Then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains, and those who are in the midst of the city must leave, and those who are in the country must not enter the city; 22 because these are days of vengeance, so that all things which are written will be fulfilled. (Luke 21:20-22).
Jesus’ conversation with His disciples, and perhaps in His public teaching, covered the same key doomsday discussion points as Jeremiah about Jerusalem. Compare Jesus’ words with those above from Jeremiah (Jer 38:1-4). Both Jeremiah and Jesus were obedient prophets declaring the coming siege on Jerusalem.
Jesus likewise prophesied that their merciless enemy would capture Jerusalem and put the people to death. There would be no hope for those remaining in the cities after the siege began. for the Jews in Jeremiah’s time even after the siege started. Egypt would come out and challenge Babylon, temporally causing Babylon to release its siege on Jerusalem. (Jeremiah left Jerusalem to do some business in Benjamin, but the Israeli guard captured him and sentenced him to death in a cistern—Jeremiah 37.) Babylon, however, returned as the prophet stated, captured Jerusalem, and burnt the city down.
When the world admits to God’s mercy,
they also disclose their guilt.
So Jeremiah warned the king and others of the imminent destruction and told them to flee. So did Jesus. They both warned Jerusalem’s inhabitants not to live for the day but to get close to God. Both prophets bitterly suffered due to their words. When Judas Iscariot finally realized that Jesus was not liberating Jerusalem, he gave up on Him and betrayed Him.
Old Words, but New Context
In both cases, Jeremiah and Jesus, the sieges took place upon Jerusalem as part of a deserving judgment. Jesus’ prophecy came about in 70 AD when the Romans surrounded the city, mercilessly slaughtered the people remaining in the city, and burnt the temple down. Note the common themes between Jeremiah and Jesus’ messages.
- Siege of Jerusalem
- Certain destruction and burning
- Mass destruction of those within the walls of Jerusalem
- Hope only existed for those escaping Jerusalem
- The people had to timely escape while they could
The messages of the two prophets, Jeremiah and Jesus, resonated with each other, even though their words were destined for different eras. The judgments of Jerusalem, in both cases, spoke clearly of how God’s patience with His chosen people had run out. But do note that before that judgment, God’s mercy repeatedly echoed forth through these faithful, yet mistreated, prophets.
Bible Study on Jeremiah and Jesus
- What was common about the persons of Jeremiah and Jesus?
- What was common about their messages?
- Explain the two scenarios that Jeremiah 37 and Luke 21 present. What is similar? What is different?
- What made Jeremiah and Jesus’ experiences so difficult?
- What one thing did each of them do to endure being a faithful prophet?
- Explain one tension point in your life that tends to hold you up from being God’s faithful servant.