Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Christ the Prophet (Deuteronomy 18:9-22)

I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth” (Deut. 18:18a).

Part of our Reformed heritage is the distinction placed upon the three mediatorial offices fulfilled by Christ. We have already studied how Christ fulfilled the offices of priest and king. He came as king in the line of David and as priest in the order of Melchizedek. Christ also came as a prophet, “one like Moses” (Deut. 18:18–19). This office is probably one of the most recognized. It is not uncommon to hear unbelievers say that Christ was a great prophet or teacher, while they deny His claim to be God. Prior to Jesus’ death on the cross, many Israelites believed He was a prophet. Some even believed He was John the Baptist or Elijah come back from the dead. But many were not sure of His claim to be Messiah and His self-designation as the Son of God.

The relation between prophet and Messiah is clear in the Old Testament: the Christ would be a great prophet, like Moses. In the biblical era, God ordained many prophets, culminating in Christ, to speak to the people. The prophet was sent by God to remind the Israelites who they were before God, what God expected of them, and what benefits would be theirs if they obeyed or what judgments they would receive if they disobeyed.

Each of the prophets from Moses to Malachi performed this role in the nation of Israel as foreshadows or types of the coming Messiah. When Jesus came He fulfilled the role of prophet by proclaiming the Good News to the people and by warning them of the judgments of God. Sadly, many people refused to listen. They had expected the Messiah to come in glory, a white knight riding forth to deliver them from the bondage of Rome. They expected a political revolutionary. Instead, Christ came not to erect an earthly kingdom but, as a prophet, to announce the coming of a spiritual kingdom. That spiritual kingdom came with the power of the Holy Spirit into the hearts of men and women at Pentecost. Through the Holy Spirit and the Word, Christ continues His prophetic role by speaking God’s truth to believers’ hearts. Likewise, by the illumination of the Holy Spirit and through the proclamation of the Word, the church of Christ plays its own role as prophet by declaring the Gospel to a fallen world.

What is the relationship between the Scriptures and Christ as Prophet? If Christ speaks to us through the Scriptures, what is your responsibility in knowing His Word? Are the Scriptures relevant in today’s culture? Why? Do you seek to apply God’s truths to your life and the situations you are confronted with daily?