Real Christianity: The Nature of the Church
By R.J. Dawson
Available at Amazon.com
Pages 95-97: "For this reason also the wisdom of God said, 'I will send to them prophets and apostles, and some of them they will kill and some they will persecute, so that the blood of all the prophets, shed since the foundation of the world, may be charged against this generation, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the house of God; yes, I tell you, it shall be charged against this generation.' Woe to your lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge; you yourselves did not enter, and you hindered those who are entering." (Luke 11: 49-52)
Keeping these cutting word of Jesus in mind, who do you suppose was the least popular guy of the Old Testament era? This is not a reference to a particular individual but to a specific place of anointing. Some of those with this anointing were very well-known, though not necessarily in a favorable sense. The person who functioned in this gifting was very often treated unapprovingly due to his perceived lack of tact, his direct manner, and most notably, because he was always right.
Though accomplished, he could never rest on his laurels. He was a guy who, as he grew stronger and more in tune with the Lord, was often looked upon by the locals with skepticism, derision, and outright contempt. Another ratio of note concerned this person and whatever miscreant authority he was subject to. Such authorities were, by and large, especially vicious toward this individual. Though honest and without guile, he represented a threat to their power and position. He refused to play politics. He couldn't be bought. But most of all, he couldn't be trusted to play by the rules unless the rules were authored by God himself. He had to stand with God to the fullest extent or he would not stand at all, and he knew it. He was the prophet.
All true prophets of God suffer severely from the slings and arrows of rejection, misunderstanding, and de facto excommunication from the collective heart of the community. The prophet was revered and hated at the same time. People had great respect and fear of his anointing but little respect or fear of his person. Therefore, the prophet could usually receive the strength and will to go on only from God and possibly other prophets. He was the perfect Old Testament iconoclast, exactly what God wanted him to be.
The Spirit of a Prophet
Josephus on John the Baptist
Wearing a Rough Garment