The Prophetic Office of Christ
The Old Testament
When Israel was preparing to enter the Promised Land, God instructed them not to learn or practice the false religions of Canaan. Rather than be satisfied with these illegitimate means of gaining spiritual insight, God promised to give the nation prophets who would speak for him. Though each prophet had a message from God for the people, their presence would also serve as a reminder of another promise God made. “The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken” (Deut. 18:15). This “Prophet” was none other than Jesus Christ himself.
The prophets of God were often unpopular among their own people because of their message of judgment. Many times the people would rebel against God’s message that judged their sin. The prophet was simply doing his job. He represented God before the people and gave them God’s message.
If God had a message to give to the world today he could do it any number of ways, for God could do anything. But God has chosen to limit himself to a strategy of using people who know the message to tell others who do not know. In the Old Testament, he would reveal a message to his prophets, who in turn would give the message to the nation. Some of these men described this revelation in terms of vision (Isa. 1:1, Ezek. 1:1). Others simply acknowledged the coming of the Word of the Lord (Jer. 1:4; Jonah 1:1). Commonly, these men simply announced with authority, “Thus saith the Lord” (Obad. 1). Nahum and Habakkuk described their message in terms of a “burden” (Nah. 1:1; Hab. 1:1). These men knew they were speaking on behalf of God.
Jesus is The Word of God
Jesus, the Word of God, became flesh. This will be one of the titles Jesus holds when he returns: “His name is called The Word of God” (Rev. 19:13). Jesus consciously said and did the will of the Father while here on earth. He told the religious leaders of his day, “The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise” (John 5:19). Later in the same conversation Jesus said, “I can of mine own self d nothing; as I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hat sent me” (John 5:30).
When we think of prophecy, we usually think of predicting future events. In the role of foreteller, Jesus made several “”prophecies”” during his ministry; John 14:26 (coming of the Holy Spirit); John 14:2, 3 (his return); and, Matthew 16:21 (his death, burial, and resurrection).
A Preacher to People – “Forth-teller”
In his wisdom, God has always “sought for a man among them” (Ezek. 22:30) whenever he chose to communicate his message. When people can identify with the messenger, they will respond to the message. To minister to man, Jesus came as a man. “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). Jesus became a man, so men could identify with him and his message.
Jesus taught the people the things concerning God. Nicodemus, a Pharisee and ruler of the Jews, acknowledged, “Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him” (John 3:2). When Jesus taught, “the people were astonished at his doctrine: For he taught them as one having authority” (Matt. 7:28, 29). Several extended discourses of Jesus are recorded in Scripture, including the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5-7), the Olivet discourse (Matt. 24-25), and the Upper Room discourse (John 13-16). In these messages of Jesus, the major theme dealt with teaching men how to live for God.