Question 80-82

IN THE OLD TESTAMENT*, there were three kinds of people who God set apart to do special work for him. In some way, they would act for God. These were prophets, priests, and kings.

 

The prophets were men and women who spoke for God. God would give a message to the prophets. The prophets would speak that message to the people.

 

The priests were the men who cared for the temple* where God was present. God chose the priests to go between God and the people to bring them together. They would make the sacrifices* for the people. They did their work so that sins* could be forgiven.*

 

God chose the kings to rule the people. The king was to lead the nation under God’s authority. He was to lead God’s people in a way that would honor* God and bless* other nations.

 

Each of these people were important. In the Old Testament, this was the way God led his people. Jesus the Messiah* came, to do all that the prophets, the priests and the kings before him were to do.

 

The prophets in the Old Testament spoke for God. There were times when God spoke to people himself. But most of the time, he spoke to the people through the prophets. He gave them authority and the words to speak for him. Most of the prophets had messages for God’s people in Israel.* But all of the prophets knew that all of the nations were in God’s plans. So, they would sometimes speak messages to the other nations close to them.

 

When a true prophet spoke, what he said would always happen. His words were just as if God had spoken. The people knew that the word of the true prophet was the word of God. Many of the prophets did signs and wonders. God gave them the power to do miracles* so that people would know that they spoke for Him. The prophets were one of the ways God revealed* himself to people.

 

When Jesus came, he served as the perfect prophet. Jesus was God himself, speaking to people. The voice of God used to come through the prophets. Now, the voice of Jesus is the voice of God. The words of Jesus are the words of God. God revealed himself in all that Jesus was and did and said. The writer of the book of Hebrews says it this way. ‘In the past God spoke to our people through the prophets. He spoke to them many times. And he spoke in many different ways. Now in these last days, God has spoken to us through his Son.’[1]

 

When he first began to do his work, Jesus read from the prophet Isaiah.* ‘The Spirit* of the Lord* God is on me, because the Lord has chosen me to bring good news to poor people. He has sent me to heal those with a sad heart.* He has sent me to tell those in prison that they can go free.’[2]

 

After he read Isaiah’s words, he said. ‘The scripture* you have just heard has come true this very day.’[3] Jesus told his disciples* that everything that he said was what God his Father had told him to say.[4] Before he went to the cross*, he prayed. In that prayer to the Father he said, ‘I gave them the words you gave to me.’[6] Jesus understood that he was speaking for God, just as the prophets had.

 

Jesus would not only tell who God is and what he is like. Jesus would show what God is like by his life. He would say, ‘If you have seen me, you have seen the Father.’[6] And just as with all true prophets, what Jesus said would happen did happen. He told his disciples that he would be put to death long before it happened. He said that he would be raised from death. He knew that Judas* would betray him and that Peter* would deny him. He knew that his disciples would leave him before each of these things happened. This was the sign of a true prophet.

 

Jesus also did many miracles. God had done these same kinds of things through the prophets like Moses*, Elijah*, and Elisha.* These miracles were signs that Jesus truly spoke for God.

 

When people heard Jesus and saw what he did, they knew Jesus was a prophet. They spoke of him as a prophet. And Jesus agreed with them when they said that he was a prophet. He even used the title to speak about himself. [7] Jesus’ role as prophet did not end when he went back into the heavens. Jesus’ ministry* as a prophet continues today through the Holy Spirit.* Jesus gathered his apostles* as they ate the Passover* meal together. He told them that he would send the Holy Spirit to them. The Holy Spirit ‘will cause you to remember everything that I have said to you,’ he said.[8] Later, the Holy Spirit would guide them to write down what they remembered. There, in the written words, Jesus, our perfect prophet, still speaks. He would make sure that the words they wrote were the words of God. The New Testament* would be the message from God the Father, through Christ the Word, given by the Holy Spirit.


[1] Hebrews 1:1-2
[2] Luke 4:18; and see Isaiah 61:1-2
[3] Mark 4:16-21
[4] John 7:16; John 8:28
[5] John 17:8
[6] John 14:9; and see John 1:18
[7] Matthew 16:14; Matthew 21:11; Luke 7:16; John 1:23; John 4:19; John 9:17; and see Matthew 13:57; Mark 6:4; Luke 4:24; Luke 13:13; John 4:44
[8] John 14:26