The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear. — Deuteronomy 18:15
God announces a Prophet greater than Moses, namely Jesus Christ, in whom God promises salvation to all mankind.
The Old Testament contains numerous references to the arrival of the Messiah. The Bible word for this second Sunday of Advent can also be understood as one such reference. Moses not only led the people, but was also a prophet, because He proclaimed the divine will.
The gospel of John brings to expression both the commonalities and the differences between Moses and Jesus Christ: “For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (John 1:17). Moses brought the law, and Jesus Christ brought grace and truth.
Grace and truth
Jesus Christ refers to the truth, namely by explaining who makes it possible to attain salvation and the means by which one can obtain salvation.
Jesus Christ Himself makes it clear that He is the way, the truth, and the life. Perfect fellowship with God is only possible in Him. If we recognize the truth in the person of Jesus Christ (John 14:6) we will not follow any other god or idol.
Jesus Christ reveals the will of God. In the Sermon on the Mount, He shows us how we are to conduct ourselves, but at the same time He makes it clear that we must commit ourselves to the grace of God if we desire to receive salvation.
Jesus’ prophetic predictions about the future
In the gospels, Jesus speaks about the future in prophetic fashion. He foretells the end of the splendid temple in Jerusalem (Matthew 24:1–2), but He also promises the Holy Spirit (John 15:26), and speaks of His return (Matthew 24:29–31).
If we acknowledge the prophetic activity of Jesus, we will recognize Him as
- The One who clearly expresses the will of God. Jesus calls upon us to lead a life of love for God and our neighbour.
- The Lawgiver of love, namely of love for God, our neighbour, and one another.
- The One in whom we encounter the grace of God. Let us not depend upon our own accomplishments or works, but rather on Him alone.
- The One who promises us a future with Him: eternal fellowship with the triune God! We can already experience this fellowship to some degree in word and sacrament, but also in our fellowship with one another. Let us make every effort to ensure that this is indeed the case among one another!
Those who follow Jesus will also share in Jesus’ prophetic ability. When we prophesy (1 Corinthians 14:1–3), we speak of the will of God, point out to others that Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation, explain that we depend on the grace of God—and not our own works—and that Jesus will return as He has promised!
* Thoughts from the Chief Apostle adapted for the divine service held on 04 December 2016 at Midrand Congregation.