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Christ the Prophet

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Intro

Big Idea: The prophetic ministry of the church has its origin point, its example, and its commission in Christ. To understand prophecy in the church, we must know Christ as The Prophet.
Acts 3:22 ESV
Moses said, ‘The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brothers. You shall listen to him in whatever he tells you.

The prophet is the one through whom Yahweh speaks to His people with authority and effectiveness.

Heidelberg Catechism question 31.
Q. Why is he called Christ, that is, Anointed?
A. Because he has been ordained by God the Father, and anointed with the Holy Spirit, to be our chief Prophet and Teacher, who has fully revealed to us the secret counsel and will of God concerning our redemption; our only High Priest, who by the one sacrifice of his body has redeemed us, and who continually intercedes for us before the Father; and our eternal King, who governs us by his Word and Spirit, and who defends and preserves us in the redemption obtained for us.
The church has long understood that Jesus’ title as Christ carries with it a threefold office. He is simultaneously the Prophet, the Priest, and the King over the church and the entire universe. Eusebius in the third and forth centuries and Thomas Aquinas in the 12th century both expounded upon this element of Christ’s character. John Calvin and Martin Luther further explored it.
Many Bible scholars and teachers today continue to teach and meditate upon these things. They are important for us in understanding who Jesus is and what His ministry was designed by the Father to accomplish.
Our understanding of our own ministry is directly tied to our understanding of the character of Christ. Since our calling is to carry on His ministry, we function under Christ in these same roles as His church.
As Prophet, Christ speaks the truth of God into the world, bringing light into darkness. He also leads his chosen people out of sin and into righteousness.
As Priest, He makes atonement for our sins and makes a clear path for us to commune with the Father.
As King, He rules with wisdom, truth, and justice over all of creation and especially his church. He goes to war on our behalf against evil, falsehood, and the principalities of darkness in this world.
Today we will focus on the prophetic ministry of Christ as understanding His prophetic ministry is foundational in our ability to understand the churches prophetic ministry.

Tension

Truth

I. Origin point: a truer and better Moses

Acts 3:11–23 ESV
While he clung to Peter and John, all the people, utterly astounded, ran together to them in the portico called Solomon’s. And when Peter saw it he addressed the people: “Men of Israel, why do you wonder at this, or why do you stare at us, as though by our own power or piety we have made him walk? The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified his servant Jesus, whom you delivered over and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release him. But you denied the Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses. And his name—by faith in his name—has made this man strong whom you see and know, and the faith that is through Jesus has given the man this perfect health in the presence of you all. “And now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers. But what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer, he thus fulfilled. Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago. Moses said, ‘The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brothers. You shall listen to him in whatever he tells you. And it shall be that every soul who does not listen to that prophet shall be destroyed from the people.’

From the Philadelphia Confession

Chapter 8: Of Christ the Mediator
1. It pleased God, in His eternal purpose, to choose and ordain the Lord Jesus, his only begotten Son, according to the covenant made between them both, to be the mediator between God and man; the prophet, priest, and king; head and saviour of the church, the heir of all things, and judge of the world; unto whom he did from all eternity give a people to be his seed and to be by him in time redeemed, called, justified, sanctified, and glorified.
Matthew 17:5 ESV
He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.”
9. This office of mediator between God and man is proper only to Christ, who is the prophet, priest, and king of the church of God; and may not be either in whole, or any part thereof, transferred from him to any other.
10. This number and order of offices is necessary; for in respect of our ignorance, we stand in need of his prophetical office; and in respect of our alienation from God, and imperfection of the best of our services, we need his priestly office to reconcile us and present us acceptable unto God; and in respect to our averseness and utter inability to return to God, and for our rescue and security from our spiritual adversaries, we need his kingly office to convince, subdue, draw, uphold, deliver, and preserve us to his heavenly kingdom.

Three specific ways Christ is “like moses” but even greater.

1. Moses spoke God’s word, Jesus is the Word.
John 1:1–5 ESV
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
Hebrews 1:1–2 ESV
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.
John 17:4–8 ESV
I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed. “I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me.
1 Timothy 2:4–5 ESV
who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,
John 1:16–18 ESV
For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.
He is the incarnate wisdom of God.
1 Corinthians 1:30 ESV
And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption,
2. Moses lead people out of slavery, Jesus leads us out of slavery to sin.
Matthew 1:21 ESV
She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
Galatians 5:1 ESV
For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
Colossians 1:21–23 ESV
And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.
Colossians 2:20–23 ESV
If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations— “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” (referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings? These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.
The best Moses could do was to give the people a better material life. Christ grants us both material and spiritual freedom.
Luke 1:74–79 ESV
that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him all our days. And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
3. Moses wrote down God’s word, Jesus writes God’s Word on our hearts.
Hebrews 10:14–17 ESV
For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified. And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying, “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds,” then he adds, “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.”
Christ sends the Holy Spirit who speaks God’s word directly to the souls of people.
John 16:8 ESV
And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment:
Christ, the living Word, is able to dig deep into the human heart and divide our folly from truth in a way that grants us vision and new life.
Hebrews 4:12 ESV
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

II. Example: Prophetic ministry in the life of Christ

Jesus came to bring light into dark places, to proclaim freedom to those in slavery to sin, good news to those who had none, and revelation to those who lacked understanding.
Luke 4:17–21 ESV
And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”
John 4:25 ESV
The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.”
John 1:4–5 ESV
In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
John 8:12 ESV
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Jesus often used healing of blind people as an opportunity to contrast those who live in darkness with those who live in light. His prophetic ministry was about revealing truth and enlightening those who were in the spiritual dark.
The Pharisees understood exactly what he was saying that they were offended just like many today continue to be offended by Christ’s attempts to enlighten the world.
John 9:4–5 ESV
We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
John 12:45–46 ESV
And whoever sees me sees him who sent me. I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.

III. Commission: Christ’s call on the church

John 20:21–23 ESV
Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”
Matthew 28:16–20 ESV
Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
His prophetic peace is ours.
His prophetic authority is ours.
His prophetic ministry is ours.
His prophetic teaching is ours.
His prophetic presence is ours.
Ultimately the church is called by Christ to carry on where He left off. Christ is the root of all ministry. Since He is the ultimate Prophet, he is the heart of all prophetic ministry.
So if we want to be a prophetic church, it is imperative that we seek to know Christ, his life, his message, his mission, and his methods.

Application

Heidelberg Catechism question 32.
Q. Why are you called a Christian?
A. Because I am a member of Christ by faith and thus share in his anointing, so that I may as prophet confess his name, as priest present myself a living sacrifice of thankfulness to him, and as king fight with a free and good conscience against sin and the devil in this life, and hereafter reign with him eternally over all creatures.
How can we honor and operate in the prophetic office of Christ?
By making it our aim to know Christ above all else.
By refusing to remain silent about all that Christ has done.
By learning to hear and follow the Holy Spirit so that Christ can direct our way and empower our speech.
These things come through prayer, the study and meditation upon God’s word, and through encouragement and equipping in the local church. If you want to press into Christ, I would suggest seeking more of those things in your life.
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