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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: Don Stewart :: The Life and Ministry of Jesus Christ

Don Stewart :: Was Jesus a Prophet?

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Was Jesus a Prophet?

The Life and Ministry of Jesus Christ – Question 17

A prophet is someone who speaks in the place of somebody else. In the Bible, it is a man or woman who speaks to the people on behalf of the one true God.

The New Testament makes it clear that Jesus Christ was the greatest of all the prophets or spokesman which God had sent to the world. Indeed, Jesus was One who spoke to the people on behalf of the true God. We see this demonstrated in a number of ways in the New Testament. The evidence is as follows.

1. Jesus Confirmed That He Was a Prophet

The gospels confirm that Jesus believed that He was a prophet. Matthew records the following episode in Jesus’ hometown of Nazareth:

And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “Prophets are not without honor except in their own country and in their own house.” (Matthew 13:57 NRSV)

Jesus acknowledged that He was a prophet in His hometown. This is despite the fact that His own people rejected Him.

2. The People Knew He Was a Prophet

The people considered Jesus to be a prophet. When Jesus asked His disciples whom the people thought He was they made the following reply,

“Well,” they replied, “some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say Jeremiah or one of the other prophets.” (Matthew 16:14 NLT)

The people of that day realized that Jesus of Nazareth spoke for God in a unique way.

The crowds in Jerusalem also testified that Jesus was a prophet. They recognized that He was sent from God to speak to them. The Bible says,

The crowds were saying, “This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.” (Matthew 21:11 NRSV)

Again, Jesus is seen as a prophet by the great crowds.

3. Jesus Was the Prophet Moses Wrote About

In the Old Testament, we find that Moses predicted that a prophet like himself would one day come. He wrote,

The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own brothers. You must listen to him. This is what you requested from the LORD your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you said, ‘Let us not continue to hear the voice of the LORD our God or see this great fire any longer, so that we will not die!’ Then the LORD said to me, ‘They have spoken well. I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. I will put My words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him. I will hold accountable whoever does not listen to My words that he speaks in My name.’ (Deuteronomy 18:15-19 HCSB)

Some people in the crowed thought Jesus could be that prophet which Moses wrote about. We read the following in John’s gospel about this perception which the people had:

When they heard these words, some in the crowd said, “This is really the prophet.” (John 7:40 NRSV)

It is clear that the crowd recognized that Jesus spoke for God in a unique way.

4. The Woman in Samaria Knew Jesus Was a Prophet

A woman that Jesus met in the city of Samaria perceived Jesus as a prophet. John’s gospel records the following:

“Sir,” the woman replied, “I see that You are a prophet.” (John 4:19 HCSB)

Jesus told her things about herself that only a prophet of God would know. She recognized His unique calling.

5. The Blind Man That Jesus Healed Recognized He Was a Prophet

A certain blind man that Jesus healed realized that He was a prophet. The religious leaders questioned him about his miraculous healing. We read about this in John’s gospel. The conversation went as follows:

So they said again to the blind man, “What do you say about him? It was your eyes he opened.” He said, “He is a prophet.” (John 9:17 NRSV)

It was obvious to this man that Jesus was at least a prophet.

6. The Testimony of Peter: Jesus Was the Prophet

After Jesus’ death, resurrection and ascension, His message began to go out into the entire world through His spokesmen. Simon Peter, one of Jesus disciples, testified that Jesus was indeed the prophet which Moses had written about. After Peter performed a certain miracle, he said the following to the religious authorities:

Moses said, ‘The Lord your God will raise up a Prophet like me from among your own people. Listen carefully to everything he tells you.’ (Acts 3:22 NLT)

Peter publicly testified to the prophetic status of Jesus. He made it clear that Jesus, the one whom had been recently crucified, was the special prophet that God had promised to send into the world.

7. The Martyr Stephen Testified to Jesus’ Prophetic Status

The martyr Stephen also testified that Jesus was “the” prophet. He cited the same passage in the Old Testament that predicted the coming of a special prophet:

Moses himself told the people of Israel, ‘God will raise up a Prophet like me from among your own people.’ (Acts 7:37 NLT)

Stephen was stoned to death for his testimony of Jesus.

God’s Final Word to Humanity Is through Jesus

Consequently, the New Testament makes it clear that Jesus was a prophet. He was sent from God to speak to the people. However, Jesus was different from all other prophets which came before Him or after Him in that He was God Himself who became a human being.

The writer to the Hebrews stated it this way,

Long ago God spoke to the fathers by the prophets at different times and in different ways. (In these last days He has spoken to us by [His] Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things and through whom He made the universe. (Hebrews 1:1-2 HCSB)

God has indeed spoken to us through Jesus, His Son.

Summary – Question 17
Was Jesus a Prophet?

The Old Testament predicted that the coming Messiah would be a special prophet. In a special way, He would be one that would speak to the people from God. The gospels make it clear that Jesus was indeed that particular prophet.

We find a number of different people testifying to the fact that Jesus was indeed a prophet. There was a certain woman from Samaria who testified that Jesus knew everything about her. She concluded that He was a prophet.

When Jesus healed a man who had been born blind, this person also concluded that Jesus was a prophet of God. Jesus Himself testified to His prophetic status. The gospels tell us that when the crowds saw the miracles of Jesus they asked the question as to whether He could be that special prophet which Moses wrote about.

Simon Peter left no doubt about this. When he spoke to the people after Jesus’ death, resurrection and ascension, he testified that Jesus was indeed the prophet Moses wrote about. Soon thereafter the martyr Stephen testified to the same thing.

Therefore, it is the united testimony of the New Testament that Jesus was a prophet of God; the special prophet whom Moses said would appear.

In sum, God’s final word to the human race was through Jesus Christ as well as the specially chosen prophets which He selected to spread His message.

Did Jesus Know the People Would Reject Him? ← Prior Section
In What Ways Did Jesus Fulfill the Prophetic Ministry? Next Section →
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