Greater Prophet ~ 20171203 ~ Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org
12/03 Advent: Jesus is Greater! Greater Prophet ; Audio available at: http://www.ephraimbible.org/Sermons/20171203_advent-greater-prophet.mp3
I've been meditating on this passage in 2 Corinthians that we have been studying,
But God is faithful, that the word [Logos] of us to you is not yes and no for the of God Son Jesus Christ who in you through us was proclaimed ...has not come to be Yes and No, but Yes in him has come to be, for as many as God's promises, in him is the Yes; now therefore through him the Amen to God for glory through us
The YES to all the promises of God is Jesus! The YES in him has come to be! God's YES has come into existence in Jesus, and as we see and experience God's yes, we are invited to speak the Amen with one voice to the glory of God.
For this Advent season, I want to look at some of the promises of God that have their substance or being in Jesus. I want to take a step back and look at some of the sweeping themes of the Old Testament that point us to the coming of Jesus, and how Jesus is the end and goal of all these promises. Jesus is the greater Prophet; Jesus is the greater Priest and the greater Tabernacle and the greater Sacrifice; Jesus is the greater King; Jesus is the greater Man; Jesus is the greater Israel who mediates a greater covenant. Jesus is greater! The YES in him has come to be! As many as are the promises of God, in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is the YES! And as we fix our eyes on Jesus, may we respond with the AMEN of worship to our great God to his glory!
What is a Prophet?
Jesus is the greater Prophet. What is a prophet? A prophet is one who faithfully brings God's word to his people. In Exodus 7 we get a picture of what a prophet is. This is after Moses complains to God that he is not a very good speaker, and God allows his brother Aaron to speak for him.
A prophet is the mouthpiece of God, the voice of God, one who speaks to people on behalf of God.
Anybody can claim to be speaking for God. Many people have. There are many places in God's word where God's people are warned to guard against false prophets. Deuteronomy 13 warns of prophets who perform supernatural signs or wonders that seem to authenticate their words, but they teach people to follow other gods, we are not to listen. God is testing us to see if we truly love God with all our heart and all our soul.
Deuteronomy 18 encourages the people to test the truthfulness of a prophet by checking to see if what he says comes to pass, because God's word always happens.
Jesus Greater than Moses
This test of the truthfulness of a prophet comes at the end of a section where Moses is pointing the people to a coming greater prophet.
He is referring back to Mount Sinai in Exodus 20;
The people said:
The people were right. To enter the presence of a holy God is to die. They needed a mediator, someone who would intercede, who could keep them safe, someone who could bring them safely in. Because of this prophecy, the people were expecting a greater prophet to arise like Moses. When John arrived on the scene calling the nation to repent and baptizing, the religious leaders asked 'Are you The Prophet?' (Jn.1:21, 25). They wanted to know if John was this greater than Moses prophet promised by God.
John pointed away from himself to Jesus. Peter in Acts 3 and Stephen in Acts 7 both connect this prophecy to Jesus.
Even greater than the testimony of John and the Apostles, is the testimony of the Father himself. When Jesus took Peter, James and John up on the mountain, and was transfigured before them, and Moses and Elijah, greatest of the Old Testament prophets appeared talking with him, Peter wanted to honor these three by making them booths to stay in; but while he was speaking the Father himself interrupted and said “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” (Mt.17:5; cf. Mk.9:7; Lk.9:35).
'This is my beloved Son, listen to him.' When the disciples lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only. According to the Father, Jesus supersedes Moses and Elijah. Jesus is the prophet we are to listen to.
When Moses came down from Mount Sinai, his face was glowing because he had met with God, but that glory faded. When Jesus was on the mountain, a slight glimmer of who he really is shone through, a glimpse of the glory that Moses met with when he was on the mountain.
Jesus says in John 5:
Jesus Authoritatively Declares God's Word
Jesus is the promised greater prophet who speaks authoritatively on behalf of God. We see this throughout Jesus' ministry.
Jesus spoke the very words his Father gave him to speak. He spoke with his Father's authority.
Jesus spoke with authority, and he did many signs and wonders to authenticate his words. But remember from Deuteronomy, signs and wonders alone are not enough to validate a ministry.
Jesus passes both tests of a prophet from Deuteronomy. Both in his life and in his teaching, he affirms the great commandment, that
And everything Jesus said came to pass.
But Jesus' predictions were not the fortune cookie generalities; 'there's something big just over the horizon.' Jesus,
What an astounding thing to say! What specific detail! Jesus saw clearly and proclaimed exactly what would happen. And it happened exactly as he said. Jesus said:
Jesus is the greater Prophet who faithfully brings God's word to his people.
Jesus Is God's Word
Jesus came to be the greater Prophet. We see this not only in what Jesus spoke, but in who he is. Jesus not only spoke God's word, but he is the Word. John's gospel begins with a very different kind of genealogy than the other gospels.
Jesus claims to be the pre-existent Word, who was with God and who is in his very essence God. He is the creative Word that spoke everything into existence in Genesis 1. He is the Word that said 'let light be!' He is the one who breathed into man the breath of life. He is life. He is light. He is God. He shares the glory of his Father. And he came. He became flesh. He became human. The Creator became part of his creation! Oh the wonder of Christmas!
Our family likes to watch some of the holiday classics about flying sleighs and magic trains and why we shouldn't be a Grinch or a Scrooge and the power of generosity and believing. Friends, truth is stranger than fiction! This is so much more wondrous, so much more awe inspiring; that God himself, the eternal Word became flesh, and was born! Born to set his people free. Born to die that we might live. Jesus, the prophetic Word become flesh to dwell among us.
Jesus is the Fulfillment of all the Prophets
Jesus is that Prophet, greater than Moses. The book of Hebrews begins this way:
God spoke through the Prophets. But now he has spoken once for all in his Son, the Creator, the radiance of his glory. God's prophetic communication all culminates in Jesus. Later in Hebrews 3, Jesus is contrasted as greater than Moses, as the builder of a house is greater than the house; as a son in the house is greater than a servant. Jesus is the final Word of God, the Prophet greater than Moses.
Jesus faithfully brings God's word to his people. Jesus is the divine Word made flesh, come to be God's Word to us. And as we look back over all the Scriptures, they become God's 'Yes' to us in Jesus.
Peter writes of the value of the believer's faith in Jesus that brings glory to God.
He goes on to connect this salvation through faith in Jesus to all the Scriptures.
Notice the word of the prophets was initiated by the Spirit of Christ in them, and the content of their word was 'the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories.' It's all about Jesus! The prophets wrote by the Spirit, beyond their own understanding, and searched and inquired carefully into their own writings. They had an idea that their writings would find fulfillment in a single person or time. They were pointing to Jesus; God come in the flesh to suffer and be crucified for us, to be buried and to rise from the dead for us. They were pointing to the grace that is ours in the gospel that has been proclaimed to us! The promised one, the Christ, God come in the flesh, came to suffer. Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, he was buried, he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and he appeared to many. All the Scriptures point together to this message of good news that eternal life in relationship with God is a free gift of God's grace, purchased for us by the sufferings of the Messiah.
Yes and Amen!
Do you have this inexpressible joy in Jesus today? Does the gospel message of salvation by grace through faith in Christ stir your heart to worship, to bow, to adore? Are you experiencing the gospel today? Are you enjoying the gospel today? Are you enjoying Jesus?
Savor the treasure you have in Jesus. May God's Yes to all his promises to us in Jesus overflow in a hearty Amen to God for his glory through us! enjoy his promises and respond together with the Amen in worship. God's promises are meant to be experienced and enjoyed. The goal of the promises is to resound to the glory of God. As we enjoy together in Jesus the yes to all God's promises, we respond back to God with the Amen of worship that brings glory to him. This is astounding! That because we are in Christ, because in Christ we enjoy God's promises, we now have the capacity to glorify God together!
Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org