Last time I wrote an article for the Bulletin, I began a series looking at the offices of Jesus, starting with his priesthood. This week I want to look at the office of prophet.
Firstly, Jesus was a prophet because he brings a message from God. Prophets in the Old Testament were often the chosen revealers of God’s word and Jesus fulfils this task: ‘For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it’ (John 12:49).
Secondly Jesus was a prophet because he foretells future things. The prophets in the Old Testament regularly saw the future, usually imminent destruction for violating God’s covenant. Jesus predicted future events that have now taken place such as the destruction of the temple (Matthew 24:1-35) and even his own death: ‘”We are going up to Jerusalem,” he said, “and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles, who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him. Three days later he will rise”’ (Mark 10:33-34).
Thirdly, Jesus’ many miracles also authenticate him as a prophet. The great prophets of the Old Testament, such as Moses and Elijah, performed many miracles and Jesus’ miracles show that he is definitely in their league. For example after Jesus raises the widow’s son we read: ‘They were all filled with awe and praised God. “A great prophet has appeared among us,” they said. “God has come to help his people”’ (Luke 7:16).
Jesus was clearly a prophet. Thus we should sit up and take notice of what he said, particularly if he was able to accurately predict future events that have since been fulfilled (e.g. his death). If he could predict those events, surely his predictions of what will happen at the end of the world will also take place. Listen to the prophet: ‘The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear’ (Matthew 13:41-43). Do you have ears to hear the greatest prophet that man has ever known?