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A Prophet for our Times

“People tend to turn to astrology in times of stress,” writes Atlantic columnist Julie Beck. While the New Age boom of the 1970s mellowed, some of its practices, such as utilizing the zodiac, have gone mainstream with millennials. They are hungry to hear from beyond.

It was common in the ancient world to seek truth by consulting sorcerers, fortune-tellers, and soothsayers. But God had something far better for His chosen people:

“You shall be blameless before the Lord your God, for these nations, which you are about to dispossess, listen to fortune-tellers and to diviners. But as for you, the Lord your God has not allowed you to do this” (Deuteronomy 8:13-14).

Why weren’t the Hebrews permitted to consult fortune-tellers and diviners? It’s because they had a reliable way to know the truth: God spoke to them through prophets. And because these prophets spoke from God, the people could know that the message was true.

What does this have to do with your ability to gain knowledge in the 21st century? Everything.

In the very next verse, Moses makes a prediction: “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers—it is to him you shall listen” (Deuteronomy 8:15). In Acts 3, the Apostle Peter quoted this verse and explained that Moses had been talking about the coming Messiah, Jesus.

Now Peter knew that Jesus wasn’t just a prophet.

After all, the disciples were informing Jesus what the crowds were thinking about His identity: “Some say [you are] John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” And it was Peter who spoke up and told Jesus, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:15-16).

Jesus is the divine Son of God, Israel’s Messiah, and the Savior of the World. He is the King of kings and the great High Priest. But Scripture tells us that He holds three offices: King, Priest, and Prophet.

So Jesus isn’t just a prophet. But He is a prophet.

Sometimes Jesus referred to Himself in third person as a prophet. For example, “Truly, I say to you, no prophet is acceptable in his hometown” (Luke 4:24). And “I must go on my way . . . for it cannot be that a prophet should perish away from Jerusalem” (Luke 13:33).

Jesus is a prophet for our times with divine words our society desperately needs.

Moses described him “A prophet like me from among you.” How is Jesus like Moses? Well, just as Moses left a palace to identify with his people, so the Messiah would leave a heavenly palace to identify with us. Just as Moses delivered his people from their slavery, the Messiah would deliver us from our slavery to sin. As Moses gave his people the Old Covenant, Jesus gave us the New Covenant.

Here are 3 more ways that Jesus is a prophet like Moses:

#1 – Jesus spoke the will and the word of God.

Listen to what Jesus said about where His words came from:

“I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me” (John 8:28).

“Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me” (John 14:24).

When Jesus spoke, His words came directly from His Father. This means that whatever Jesus says is true. When Jesus makes a promise, it will come to pass. We can trust His words 100%.

#2 – Jesus did many great deeds in the name of God.

Like Moses, Jesus did many miracles to lead His people out of their bondage.

When Jesus raised a young man from the dead, listen to the peoples’ reaction: “Fear seized them all, and they glorified God, saying, ‘A great prophet has arisen among us!’ and ‘God has visited his people!'” (Luke 7:16).

#3 – Jesus acted as a mediator between man and God.

Moses stood in the gap between God and the Hebrews as a prophetic mediator when He received and gave the law on Mount Sinai. As Moses was the mediator of the Old Covenant, Jesus was the mediator of the New, eternal Covenant. Hebrews 9:15 says of Jesus, “He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.”

The “death . . . that redeems” us is of course the death of Jesus Himself. Like many prophets of old, Jesus too was killed. Jesus Himself had lamented, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets” (Matthew 23:37). But outside Jerusalem, Jesus returned to life from the grave.

And that’s how we know we have heard from beyond.

Even in the 21st century, the “word of Christ” dwells in us, as we spend time “teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God” (Colossians 3:16). In times of stress, the “peace of Christ” (3:15) can rule in our hearts because the word of Christ dwells in us.

So Jesus isn’t just a prophet. But He is a prophet.
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