(28.) On Christ the Prophet

(28.) On Christ the Prophet

(28.) On Christ the Prophet. 

The Hebrew Scriptures are very clear about their appointed leaders… they must be anointed. The roles of prophet, priest and king are these anointed ones, and they find their fulfillment in the Anointed One in the Gospels. This is another example of how Christianity is basically a Jewish religion. The Christian faith finds it roots in the Jewish faith. Jesus was a faithful Jew, and so much of the Jewish Bible finds its fulfillment in the Gospel story. The anointed ones in the Old Testament find their culmination in the Anointed One in the New Testament. Some examples: Elisha is anointed by Elijah to be a prophet; Aaron is anointed by Moses to be a priest; David is anointed by Samuel to be king. And Jesus is anointed by the Father to be Messiah at His baptism. Jesus became the Christ who holds all three offices together, prophet, priest and king, summed up in the one office of Messiah.

“Yahweh said to Moses: I will raise up for the people a prophet like you from among your people; I will put my words in His mouth, and He will tell them everything I command Him. If anyone does not listen to my words that prophet speaks in my Name, I myself will call him to account.” (Deuteronomy 18:17-19).

The Promised Prophet. For many generations, faithful Jews had been waiting for a Prophet with a capital P, a Moses-like prophet, prophecied from Deuteronomy 18, who would arise from within the Jewish nation. This Prophet would be sent by God to perform for the Jews many of the things that Moses did. The Prophet would be an extraordinary and divinely-inspired Teacher, a mouthpiece of God, speaking God’s words to the people. This Prophet would repeat some of the miracles of Moses… providing food unexpectedly for masses of people; providing a spring of living water; controlling the seas; healing illnesses; foretelling future events and interpreting past or present events. This Prophet would be the divine fulfillment of Yahweh’s promise to Moses. And the Jewish faithful were hungry for this special Prophet to appear.

Jesus the Prophet. Jesus embraced the role of the special Moses-like Prophet wholeheartedly from the beginning of His ministry. He severely rebuked sin and hypocrisy. He openly proclaimed mercy and comfort. He controled the waves of the sea. He provided food for thousands of people in the wilderness. Instead of literal water, Jesus proved to be the Source of living water, spiritually speaking. Instead of leading the people out of slavery to Egypt, Jedsus led the people out of slavery to sin and death. Jesus faithfully taught the Word of the Lord, going so far as to tell His disciples, “The word which you hear is not mine, but the Father’s who sent me.” (John 14:24). That statement of Jesus directly fulfilled the prophercy of Deut. 18, and it didn’t go unnoticed. Jesus went even further when He said, “The Son can do nothing by Himself; He can do only what He sees His Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.” (John 5:19). Spoken like a true Prophet. Jesus also wore the mantle of the Prophet by foretelling future events… His death and resurrection; Peter’s denial; Judas’ betrayal; the destruction of the Temple; the coming of the Holy Spirit. Jesus also fulfilled the role of prophet by healing everywhere he went, drawing comparisons to all the healing that so many prophets in the Hebrew Scriptures performed. As a prophet, Jesus wasn’t shy about saying or doing the hard thing. Just ask the money-changers in the Temple. Jeremiah said that the words of the prophet can be like “a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces.” (Jer. 23:39). And Jesus certainly broke many rocks in His travels. Prophets are known to speak with authority, and Jesus was often commended as someone who taught as one who had authority (Mark 1:22). It’s also interesting that Jesus thought of Himself as a prophet, identifying Himself as such after His home town rejected Him, and stating that a prophet is without honor in his own home. Jesus redeemed and fulfilled the role of not just any prophet, but the promised Prophet, the one propesied by Yahweh to Moses.

Public Perception. The people who came in contact with Jesus called him everything from a great prophet (Luke 7:16) to a prophet mighty in deed and word (Luke 24:19). The woman at the well called Jesus a prophet (John 4:19), and the people witnessing His grand entrance on Palm Sunday called Him the prophet from Galilee (Matt. 21:11). But that’s not all. After the feeding of the 5,000, which reminded people there of Moses feeding the people in the wilderness with manna and quail, the people present at this miraculous feeding said, “This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world.” (John 6:14). They were expecting the Moses-like Prophet, and He gave signs He was the one. So Jesus was not any old prophet, He was the promised Prophet, and many people knew it. It’s worthy to note that of all the Biblical personalities He could have spoken with at the Transfiguration, Jesus talked with the two gretest prophets in Jewish history, Moses and Elijah. Jesus embraced the role of prophet, He identified with the role of prophet, and He fulfilled the role of Prophet anointed by God.