I had the privilege and honor of attending Crown College where I built a brotherhood of friends and established a fraternity of pastoral comrades. During my first semester at Crown College my brother, Johnny, was attending Indiana University Purdue University of Indianapolis (IUPUI) where he was studying Mechanical Engineering Technology. Upon arriving home for the summer I found my brother, prompted by the work of the Holy Spirit, in dire pursuit of a life in full-time ministry . Though my parents were not thrilled with the idea of Johnny attending a private school they relented and allowed him to pursue his vision of what God had placed in his heart. Our journey together toward graduation was set and the dynamics of our relationship would soon shift.
Johnny and I grew up three years apart but two years in grades. My brothers and I supported each other in everything that we did. We attended football games, basketball games, baseball games, choir recitals, church functions and more. I was the first one to greet my brother Johnny on the field during his first varsity touchdown during mop up duties as a sophomore. I leaped onto the field from the stands when he took an interception 70 yards for a touchdown during his 7th grade football game. I was in attendance when he played his final high school football game in which tear strolled down his face. My brothers and I enjoyed everything together.
During our stint at Crown College my parents lectured me, the older brother, about looking after Johnny. The reality was that this was our first time being away from home. Being the two youngest in the family my parents were extra protective and sensitive to the fact that there would be no parental oversight during our adventures at Crown College. As a obedient son would I reassured them that I would look after my brother and make sure he remained on the straight and narrow path.
I started to realize that my tone and conversation with my brother started to shift from brother to parent. I began to exercise the authority my parents had bestowed upon me as the older sibling and started to embrace the fact that I was my brother’s keeper. No longer was my oversight, from my perspective, done from a brothers standpoint, but from my parent’s commission. My words became my parents and I embraced the fact that I was my parent’s representation to my brother.
Jesus as Prophet:
To the saints of old God “spoke to our fathers by the prophets” (Hebrews 1:1 ESV) who carried divine truth, authority, and word from God. These prophets were the representatives who, by their office, relayed His statues and decrees to the world. Yahweh “would be known by His people not primarily by sight but by sound. They would hear His Word, not see His face. They would know Him as the God who speaks.”1 Moses became the first major prophet within the narrative of Scripture to which he penned the first five books of the bible, the Pentateuch. Moses, in the office of prophet, became a type of Christ which refers to “Old Testament figures, institutions, or events that foreshadow Jesus.”2 Scripture clearly indicates that Jesus is the greater Moses to which we can look toward for salvation, restoration, and redemption. In the book of Hebrews 3:3, 5 – 6 the author explained it like this:
For Jesus has been counted worthy of mare glory that Moses — as much more glory as the builder of a house has more honor than the house itself. . . Now Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later, but Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son. And we are his house if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope.
Though there was a succession of other prophets who would represent and speak on God’s behalf, Moses prophesied of a prophet that would come like himself. The foresight of this prophet would pave way in fulfilling the Genesis 3:15 account of the “offspring” that would come and crush the head of the serpent. These prophets were giving way for the prophet, Christ Jesus, to which God would bring forth. God declared that He would “raise up for them a prophet like [Moses] from among their brothers. And I will put my words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him” (Deuteronomy 18:18 ESV). Though Jesus is the prophet spoken of in Deuteronomy His fulfillment ranges in a deeper and more profound sphere within redemptive history. Jesus is not only the prophet, or plays in the role of the prophet, but embodies the fulfillment of the prophetic promises to which He is also the source. Jesus is greater than the prophets.
Hebrews 1:1 – 2 ESV, “1 Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2 but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son, whom He appointed the heir of all things through whom also He created the world.”
Jesus is the Word:
The person of Jesus is not only a role player within redemptive history but He is the fullness and fulfillment of salvation to which the sacred scriptures speak about. The fact that “God chose to speak in the context of real human history, we may take courage that these same words will speak again and again in our own ‘real’ history, as they have throughout the history of the church.”3 All of the “Old Testament prophets looked forward to Christ in what they wrote, and the New Testament apostles looked back to Christ and interpreted His life for the benefit of the church.”4 Jesus is the apex to what the Holy Spirit spoke of through the prophets. The sacred text of the Christian faith finds their fulfillment and enlightenment in the work and person of Jesus Christ. Not only does Christ satisfy the role of prophet but He is the very Word to which the prophet speaks.
Therefore, the Apostle John expresses the reality that in “the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1 ESV). John is connecting the authenticity of Christ’s deity with God’s spoken Word throughout eternity. The Apostle has “presented Jesus to his Jewish readers as the incarnation of divine power and revelation.”5 Jesus is not merely in position, but rather Creator God Himself. In perspective with the bible “Jesus was not merely a messenger of revelation from God, but was Himself the source of revelation from God.”6
Jesus challenged the local Pharisees in this idea realizing that they “search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me” (John 5:39 ESV). The religious leaders of that day understood the sacred Scriptures and walked in reverence to its teachings, but did not realize that the focal point of the bible’s direction was pointing at Jesus. Jesus who was the representation of God’s Word and who was “the exact imprint of [God’s] nature” (Hebrews 1:3 ESV) is the culmination of what God was and is speaking into creation. All of Scripture “is not only the Word of God, but the Word of Jesus as well. He is both the Author and the chief theme of Scripture.”7
Not only does the Apostle John or the Apostle Paul testify to Christ as Prophet, but Christ Himself embraces the reality of HIs divine role as the Word. In Christ’s proclamation of Himself He points to His divine fulfillment in Scripture. Often Jesus would teach “beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself” (Luke 24:27 ESV). In Jesus’s teaching He is showcasing that within the metanarrative of Scripture He is the foundational piece. Though Christ is the prophet, He transcends that office and is the full representative “image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation” (Colossians 1:15 ESV).
As the prophet, Jesus Christ is “the Word became flesh and dwelt among” (John 1:14 ESV) the world. He is God incarnate and His mission is to showcase His kindness, goodness, and mercy to the created world. Jesus did not come “to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him” (John 3:17 ESV). Though He holds the authority, title, and responsibility; Jesus is calling a people group back to Himself through His infinite kindness in the cross. Christ’s intentions has always been to “seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10 ESV). Just as my job as a brother was to oversee, guard, and protect my sibling; Christ, our older brother, has taken the sins of the world upon His shoulder that we might “enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus” (Hebrews 10:19 ESV). His divine love for us upon the cross is to showcase God’s goodness, and “God’s kindness is meant to lead [us] to repentance” (Romans 2:4 ESV).
As the prophet Christ speaks to us through the power of the Holy Spirit to steer, lead, and guide us into conformity in Him. As believers we have been “sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of His glory” (Ephesians 1:13 – 14 ESV). His “Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God” (Romans 8:16 ESV). Therefore, let us hold fast to the truth that we have a prophet who speaks an everlasting Word to us that brings forth life, peace, and hope. Knowing that God has “spoken to you, that [His] joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full” (John 15:11 ESV).
1 Mark Dever and Greg Gilbert. Preach: Theology Meets Practice (Nashville: B&H Publishing, 2012), 17.
2 Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshears. Doctrine: What Christians Should Believe (Wheaton: Crossway, 2010), 45.
3 Gordon D. Fee and Douglas Stuart. How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2003), 22.
4 Wayne Grudem. Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2000), 626.
5 John MacArthur. The MacArthur New Testament Commentary: John 1 – 11 (Chicago: Moody Publisher, 2006), 17.
6 Grudem, 626.
7 John M. Frame. Systematic Theology: And Introduction to Christian Belief (Phillipsburg: P&R Publishing, 2013), 900.