Summary: Jesus is the Prophet foretold by Moses and more than a prophet, for in him God’s saving prophecies are all fulfilled.
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ.
The Word of God through which the Holy Spirit touches our hearts this morning are the words spoke through Moses in Deuteronomy 18:15-20
The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own brothers. You must listen to him. For this is what you asked of the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you said, “Let us not hear the voice of the Lord our God nor see this great fire anymore, or we will die.”
The Lord said to me: “What they say is good. 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. If anyone does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name, I myself will call him to account. But a prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded him to say, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, must be put to death.” (NIV)
This is the word of our Lord.
Dear Christian friends,
The oracle at Delphi, Mohammed, Nostradamus, John Smith. People have looked to them as prophets, but they have proven false. You know the names of other prophets, ones that spoke God’s truth: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, to name a few.
In our modern, rational, scientific age, many dismiss prophecy as naïve and backwards. And yet there is something in us that yearns for prophecy. Something that yearns to hear a voice from beyond ourselves, a voice of promise, a voice of hope, a voice that touches us with the divine. We see that longing expressed in many stories of mythology, fantasy, and science fiction that revolve around a prophecy and its fulfillment. For example, Star Wars® talks about the prophecy of the one who would restore balance to the force.
Some fill this longing for prophecy by searching the stars for their horoscope. Some try to drown this longing in the promises of technology and human advancement. Some turn to charismatic leaders, no matter how off the wall they may be. Yet only one truly satisfies this longing. Only one voice of promise and hope will not fail. Only one can touch us with the divine. He and he alone is the Prophet. He is the one the Lord promised through Moses. Listen to him. Listen to the Prophet. That’s the theme we focus on this morning. Listen to the Prophet, for 1) he is our Go-between, 2) he is our Brother, and 3) he is the Truth. Listen to the Prophet.
1) He is our Go-between
Nearly forty years before Moses spoke these words to the Israelites, they had camped at the foot of Mount Horeb. We’re more familiar with its other name, Mt. Sinai. Remember what the Lord God did there? He came down on the mountain in fire. Smoke, thunder, lightening, and cloud covered the mountain. Everything trembled violently; the trumpet blast grew louder, and the voice of God spoke: “I am the Lord your God who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:1-3 NIV). And the Lord God continued to speak his Law – the Ten Commandments.
Moses tells us that at Mt. Horeb on that day of assembly when the people heard the voice of God, they said, “Let us not hear the voice of the Lord our God nor see this great fire anymore, or we will die.” The terror of God’s Law pierced them to the core. It burnt to ashes the fig leaves of pride and the rags of human goodness. They knew that even the best they did could not hide their sin. They stood before the holy Judge in their sinful nakedness and knew that death and hell was all that they deserved.
In his grace and mercy the Lord promised them a Go-between, an intermediary, an intercessor. The Lord God said to Moses, “What they say is good. 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.” This Prophet is the one who goes between the holy God and the naked sinner. Listen to him.
Why do we need to listen to him? Because we are no better off than the Israelites were when they stood at the foot of Mt. Sinai. It may be easier for us to choose to ignore God’s Law and holy fire, since the ground underneath us is not physically shaking. We can try to dull our conscience, by telling ourselves that we shouldn’t take religion too seriously. We can try to dress up our sins with excuses. “I tried my best.” “Other people do it.” “I couldn’t help myself.” “It’s not my fault.” We can try to focus on our so-called good points. But all this is just denial of the truth.