I love the season of Advent because of the focus on all of the promises that Jesus fulfilled. He is the Serpent Crusher (Genesis 3:15), the Righteous Branch (Isaiah 11), and the Suffering Servant (Isaiah 52-53). He is the long-awaited Messiah, born to save His people from their sins (Matthew 1:21). He is the offspring of a virgin, Immanuel, God with us (Matthew 1:22-23). “For all the promises of God find their Yes in him” (2 Corinthians 1:20).
Three promises that Christ fulfilled are found in the three primary offices of the Old Testament: prophet, priest, and king. Each of these offices pointed to Christ and the work He would come to do.
The role of the prophet was to speak to God’s people on behalf of the Lord. Much of the Old Testament was written by men we consider to be prophets of God. They repeatedly called the people to repentance and a return to Yahweh. They warned of the coming judgment of exile and pleaded with Israel to turn away from their sin and back to the Lord. They spoke of the kindness of God and reminded the people of His faithfulness to them, particularly of His salvation through the exodus.
We need a prophet in our day. We need someone to speak the Word of God to us. We need warnings of future judgment and a call to repentance. We need to be reminded of God’s love and faithfulness. In an age of constant change, we need something permanent. In our shifting-sands culture, we need a solid rock. We need someone who will not care so much about popularity or ‘likes’ on Facebook or followers on Twitter. We need more than 140 characters, more than political catch-phrases, more than the latest trends. We need a Word from the Lord. We need a prophet.
One of the earliest prophets, good old Moses, wrote of a coming prophet. The people of Israel were preparing to finally enter the Promised Land and Moses would soon be stepping down as their leader (death has a way of doing that). But he wrote about another prophet that would come:
“And the Lord said to me, ‘They are right in what they have spoken. I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him.” (Deuteronomy 18:17-18)
In one sense, it could be argued that all of the prophets who gave to us the commands of God were a fulfullment of these words. Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the the twelve, all spoke the words of God to the people of God in their time. Yet, they all pointed to a greater Prophet, a better Prophet, a perfect Prophet.
Who would that be? Who would speak the Word of God to us and reveal Him perfectly?
John writes of Jesus: “He has made Him known” (John 1:18).
Paul writes of Jesus: “He is the image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15).
The author of Hebrews writes of Jesus:
“Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purifications for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high…” (Hebrews 1:1-3)
The prophet we need today is the ‘Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing,’ the Creator who became man, the Savior who purified our sins by offering up Himself. The universe is upheld by the word of His power. We do not need a new prophet, we need to simply listen to the true Prophet, who now sits at the Father’s side. The Promised Prophet is Jesus, and He is the Word we need today.