Luke 24:19–23 (from the story of the road to Emmaus)
At the end of the book of Deuteronomy is a section about the death of Moses. It states : “Since then, no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, who did all those signs and wonders the Lord sent him to do in Egypt – to Pharaoh and to all his officials and to his whole land. For no one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did in the sight of all Israel” (Deuteronomy 34:10–12). But earlier in the book (18:18; see our Bible passages above) God speaks to Moses of another prophet like him who will be raised from among the Jewish people – a new Moses.
Speculation continued as time went by and no one fitting this description appeared, until Jesus came. Then the speculation centred on him (see Matthew 16:13–16) and people began to identify him as a prophet, possibly the prophet spoken of to Moses. At the time of his death (see our passage from Luke 24 above), he was understood to have been a great prophet. At that point the acceptance that he was the messiah, the saviour of the world, had not yet taken root.
Jesus’ prophetic ministry is not emphasized as much as his teaching and healing nowadays, but it was revered during his earthly life. It is seen both in his fore-telling of events to come, and in his forth-telling – interpreting and understanding the spiritual significance of the events of his day, and seeing into the hearts of his fellow men, discerning truth and announcing the will of God.
At Pentecost the Spirit of Jesus was poured out upon the church. Where can you see signs in the church today of the prophetic ministry of Jesus?
When you hear the words “a prophet”, what comes to mind? What does it mean to you, to be a prophet? What is the nature of prophetic ministry?
Can you think of an example in modern life of someone you could describe as a prophet?
O God of all truth, things hidden away in secret are exposed by the daylight of your presence. May we, by your mighty power and your Spirit at work within us, learn to see and discern what is wise and good for our nation, our time. Then give us the strength and the courage to work for our vision to come into being. In Jesus’ holy name we pray; Amen.