God’s Word for You
by Pastor Timothy Smith on Friday, April 3, 2015
The king wanted to put him to death. The priests cried out for his execution. Prophets in Jerusalem also conspired against him, and the great Sanhedrin judged that he was worthy of death for the things that he said. But one man stood up to defend the prophet.
24 But Ahikam son of Shaphan used his authority to protect Jeremiah, who was not handed over to the people to be put to death.
When Ahikam stepped in to help Jeremiah, his name was enough to end the murderous threats on the prophet’s life. Perhaps something similar would have happened if a single man with enough authority had actually done something when Jesus was threatened. If Caiaphas the high priest, or Annas the former high priest, or king Herod had stepped in, any one of them might have freed Jesus, even if he might have angered the others. Pontius Pilate had come to the conclusion that the only way to keep the peace in Israel was either to walk an impossible tightrope of diplomacy and hope for good fortune and good luck to keep disturbances to a minimum, or else to put the whole nation to the sword. But Jesus knew that none of those men would step in to help him. He knew their hearts, and he knew that he was laying down his life for the sins of the world.
But Ahikam had a different impact on Jeremiah’s fate. His father Shaphan was the man who read the rediscovered book of the Law to King Josiah (2 Kings 22:8). It was these two men, father and son, who were sent to Huldah the prophetess to find out what should be done after the book was found (2 Kings 22:12-20).
This was a family that was friendly to Jeremiah. We will meet Akiham’s brother Gemariah when Jeremiah’s scroll is read before the king; he will implore Jehoiakim not to burn the prophet’s book (Jeremiah 36:12,25). Another brother, Elasah, will carry a letter from Jeremiah to the exiles in Babylon about false prophets and fortune tellers disturbing their faith (Jeremiah 29:3).
It would be Ahikam’s son, Gedaliah, who would become governor of Judah after the last king was exiled and Jerusalem was destroyed. Gedaliah urged the people to resettle the land and plant crops (Jeremiah 40:1-16). We will see what happened to him in chapter 41.
Jeremiah’s life was spared, but there was still great danger in the land. The Babylonians were at the doorstep, and false prophets were filling the people with false hope. Jeremiah had his work cut out for him.
No one stepped in to help Jesus. The rage of the priests was so furious that every disciple, every apostle, and every friend of the Lord’s was afraid even to admit that they knew him. Christian members of the Sanhedrin (Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea) only took care of Jesus’ body quietly, after the anger of the high priest had taken the Savior’s life. When they took his body from the cross, they were handling the body of the Lamb of God, who came to take away the sin of the world. The sacrifice was complete. The thing was done. Our sins are covered by his blood. The stone was rolled in place, and his followers could give in to their grief.
But Sunday morning, everything would change…
Pastor Timothy Smith
To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please contact Pastor Smith.