Show me the heart of a man that is bleeding.
Mustn’t that be the heart of a preacher?
How? How do I know? Well, there’s the blood pumping out, blood offered willingly, gladly, joyfully singing out. It flows out and fills up the land. It fills up the town.
On the streets of the city, on the corners, in the alleys, the blood drips and seeps.
It must be the blood of the beating heart of a preacher.
He’s on the corner, always. You can see the blood flow, the aches and throes, and the inside and out, all laid bare. The soul of the man, wretched.
The heart’s pumping like nothing else, accelerating air through the body, to the lungs, from the lungs, and the Preacher Man speaks. The heart pumps through his voice, through his vocal cords even, through his mouth, and off of his lips.
The blood is seen in his eyes, his face, and it rings out with his words. For as his words are the blood of his screaming heart, so he proclaims a bloodshed that is not like his, that is NOTHING like his.
Because it is the blood of a god. No, not a god, but God Himself.
And when God bleeds, the world cannot help but shudder. And it is not mere beautifully tragic fantasy, poetry. It is reality, the bleeding out of God.
And when God bleeds out for a man who hated Him, then that man can do nothing less than bleed out for that very God he has now sworn his allegiance too. And the allegiance is not an allegiance of mutual gain, or equal benefactors. No, it is the allegiance of a worm to a king, or at least as the Preacher Man sees it.
You see, the Preacher Man goes up and stands like a bold, sad fool because he was just that: bold in his sin, sad in his existence, and a fool in his living. But, no more.
You see, the Preacher Man gets up on his box and speaks out from the blood of his heart like its oozing from his mouth. His words are harsh, they are of fire and brimstone, because they are also of love. And he can have it no other way but to tell the truth and hold nothing back that his God, his Ruler, his Commander-in-chief says he ought not hold back.
The Preacher Man doesn’t go up because he loves to condemn. He goes up because he wants people to be saved. He doesn’t preach of Hell because he wishes others to go there. He preaches of Hell because that is the last place he would ever want a single wandering person to go.
As Jeremiah said,
For whenever I speak, I cry out, I shout, ‘Violence and destruction!’ For the word of the Lord has become for me a reproach and derision all day long.If I say, ‘I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name,’ there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot.Jeremiah 20:8-9
It is the Preacher Man’s solemn duty to cry out in the street corners, “Repent and believe the Gospel!” It is his holy privilege to stand up in the city and speak out as his voice cracks in emotion, in yearning, in compassion for the lost.
The Preacher Man comes to the Scripture and sees it so clearly: He can and He will remove your transgressions as far as the East is from the West (Psalm 103:12). If you look at His nail-scarred hands, you can see the marks of love in the flesh. The Preacher Man knows and understands what has been done and what therefore must be done: the will of the Father (John 6:38, Matthew 7:21).
The bleeding heart must be the heart of the Preacher Man, mustn’t it? Why else would it pump as it does, and bleed as it does, and never stop as it does? The Lord fills it back up, night after night, day after day.
For the Preacher Man holds to Christ’s promise: “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20b).
I am not the Preacher Man. That is not what I write. I wish to be the Preacher Man, though. I do indeed.
We ought not mock the Preacher Man— do we understand this deep a bleeding of the heart and the call of God upon him? Are we, mere servants, to judge another’s servant? To his own Master he will stand or fall, and I would argue that the Preacher Man is not likely a man that will fall, for I think the Lord is at work (Romans 14:4).
Furthermore, aren’t some of us to be the Preacher Man? Is not that some of our callings, callings of God Himself?
Let us not take culture’s say in the matter so seriously. Rather, let us take seriously the sayings of God, the Words of the Father.
Ought we not commend the Preacher Man?
‘Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.Matthew 5:11-12
How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.Romans 10:14-17
All direct verse quotations are taken from the ESV
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