Summary: The Prophets say such high and lofty things, for they are speaking for God. Jesus, however, did not speak for God, but as God. He was the very voice of God, and when people heard His Word, they were hearing God speak, and not just His spokesman.

F. F. Bruce in his commentary on Hebrews concludes (Jesus) "is the prophet

through whom God has spoken His final word; He is the priest who has accomplished a

perfect work of cleansing for his people's sin; He is the King who sits enthroned in the

place of chief honor alongside the Majesty on High." Everyone agrees that Jesus is the

prophet, priest and king in Hebrews, and this means that he sums up the whole

revelation of God. But the fact is, we hear more about Jesus being the priest and king

than we do about Him being the prophet of God. I have to confess that in 34 years of

preaching I never dealt with this subject, and I do not recall ever reading a message on

Jesus as a prophet. It is not a popular theme, but it is more significant than we realize.

Hebrews begins by saying that the prophets were the spokesmen for God in the past,

and that Jesus is the final spokesman of God in these last days. He is the final and the

ultimate prophet, for He speaks God’s final answer to man.

God told Moses, who is considered the greatest prophet in Judaism, that He would send

another prophet like him, and Christians have always considered this as a reference to

Jesus. It says in Deut. 18:18, "I will raise them a Prophet from among their brothers, like you

(Moses), and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak to them all that I shall

command him. And it shall come to pass, that whoever will not listen to my words which he

shall speak in my name, I will require it of him." Jesus was the very Word of God, and His

words carried the most important message God ever spoke to mankind. Eternal life is in

His words, and failure to listen to them and obey them leads to eternal rejection. It is a

matter of life and death that we hear and heed this prophet who spoke, not just to Israel,

but to all mankind, and who sent His church into all the world to teach them to obey all

that He has commanded. No other prophet had such a powerful message, and no other

prophet had such a universal message to all people. Jesus was, without a doubt, the

greatest prophet. Isaac Watts wrote,

Great Prophet of my God,

My tongue would bless Thy Name,

By Thee the joyful news

Of our salvation came,

The joyful news of sin forgiv’n

Of hell subdued, and peace with heav’n.

Deuteronomy ends with these interesting verses. "And there has not arisen since in

Israel a prophet like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, in all the signs and the

wonders, which the Lord sent him to do in the land of Egypt to Pharaoh, and to all his

servants, and to all his land, and in all that mighty hand, and in all the great and awesome

deeds which Moses performed in the sight of all Israel." A prophet like Moses had to have

more than words from God. He had to have deeds of miraculous wonder. Jesus fulfilled

this image perfectly as He went about daily doing miraculous deeds as no one else in

history has ever done. Elijah and Elisha did miracles too, but not on the scale of Jesus. He

not only talked to God face to face as Moses did, but He was the very face of God

confronting mankind. Never before, and never again has there been a prophet like Jesus in

both word and deed. After He fed the 5000 we read in John 6:14, “After the people saw the

miraculous sign that Jesus did, they began to say, ‘surely this is the Prophet who is to come

into the world.’” He was the second Moses in the eyes of those who saw His wonders. Those

who heard his wisdom say the same thing in John 7:40, “Surely this man is the Prophet.”

No one had ever come to fulfill the prophecy of one like Moses until Jesus, and the people

knew He was the one. The leaders of Israel should have known as well, for in Rabbinic

literature there is a much repeated principle: “As the first redeemer (Moses), so the final

redeemer (the Messiah).” They should have known He was the final Prophet fulfilling the

promise to Moses.

There are a number of ways that Jesus parallels Moses. Both had their lives threatened

as babies and they needed to be rescued from tyrants. Both reflected the glory of God on

the mountain. From the mountain where he talked to God Moses gave the people the law

of God. From the mountain Jesus gave the new law in the Sermon on the Mount. It is

interesting that both of them fasted for 40 days and nights before giving the Ten

Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount. Exodus 34:28 says, “Moses was there with

the Lord forty days and forty nights without eating bread or drinking water. And he wrote

on the tablets the words of the covenant-the Ten Commandments.” Moses fed the people

with the manna from heaven. Jesus fed the multitude with bread he created by heavenly

power. Moses led the people in the wilderness as they headed to the promise land. Jesus

leads us through the wilderness of time to the ultimate promise land of heaven. There are

numerous parallels, and Arthur Pink comes up with 75 of them in his final chapter on his

study of Exodus. The point is Moses was the greatest in the Old Testament, and Jesus is the

second Moses, who becomes the greatest Prophet of all time.

Here is a list of the testimonies of the people who recognized that Jesus was the prophet:

Jesus asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” and they answer, “Some

say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

Matt. 16:14

"And when he would have put him to death, he feared the multitude, because they counted

him as a prophet." Matthew 14:5 (compare with Matthew 21:26)

"And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee." Matthew 21:11

"But when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the multitude, because they took him

for a prophet." Matthew 21:46

"And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of

Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people:"

Luke 24:19

"The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet." John 4:19

"Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that

prophet that should come into the world." John 6:14

"Many of the people therefore, when they heard this saying, said, Of a truth this is the

Prophet." John 7:40

"And there came a fear on all: and they glorified God, saying, That a great prophet is risen

up among us; and, That God hath visited his people." Luke 7:16

"They say unto the blind man again, What sayest thou of him, that he hath opened thine

eyes? He said, He is a prophet." John 9:17

John the Baptist was the greatest born of woman Jesus said, but this greatest man of the

Old Testament said he was not worthy to stoop down and until his shoes, as he refers to

Jesus in Mark 1:7. Everyone who knew Jesus personally knew He was the greatest prophet

ever, and many who only saw his works and heard his words knew it too.

Peter makes it perfectly clear that Jesus was this promised Prophet in Acts 3. He had

just healed the crippled man at the gate called Beautiful, and this led to a crowd gathering

in amazement. Peter spoke to them and quoted the words of Moses in verses 22 and 23,

“For Moses said, The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among

your own people; you must listen to everything he tells you. Anyone who does not listen to

him will be completely cut off from among his people.” Peter says that Jesus is that

prophet and by His power the man had been healed. He said all of the prophets spoke of

this day, and Jesus as the final prophet came to them to turn them from their ways of

wickedness. Peter knew Jesus was the Prophet Moses spoke of for He saw Jesus

transformed on the mountain in the presence of Moses, and he heard God say, “This is my

Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased. Listen to Him!” (Matt. 17:5) Then when

they looked up they saw Jesus only. No longer were they to look to Moses and the prophets,

but to Jesus only. They were to listen to Him only, who was the greatest Prophet.

Stephen in his final speech before he was stoned to death refers in Acts 7:37 to this

same promise and says, “This is that Moses who told the Israelites, ‘God will send you a

prophet like me from your own people.’” Then he goes on in verses 52 and 53, “Was there

ever a prophet your fathers did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the

coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him.” There is no

doubt that the early Christians saw Jesus as the Prophet God promised Moses He would


When Jesus went to the town of Nain he saw the only son of a widowed mother being

carried out in a coffin. His heart went out to her and he said, “Young man, I say to you, get

up.” The dead man did just that and he talked to his mother. The great crowd that followed

him was filled with awe and they shouted in Luke 7:16, “A great prophet has appeared

among us..” Such a miracle was not the work of a mere prophet, for only a great prophet

could do something like this, for He had raised the dead to life. It was this act of wonder

and not anything that He said that made them see Him as a great prophet. The greater the

wondrous acts of love and mercy, the greater the prophet, and this clearly puts Jesus in the

category of the greatest prophet ever. Is there a record anywhere in history of one who did

miracles on the scale that Jesus did them? The miracles of Jesus confirm that He was the

great prophet that God was sending into the world. When we combine His words and His

works we have a clear winner to the title of the greatest prophet in history.

The disciples saw Jesus as a prophet, for Cleopas said of Jesus in Luke 24:19, “He was a

prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people.” They recognized Jesus

as a prophet, but they did not recognize that the prophets of the past were speaking about

Him. Jesus then goes on to speak to these two on the road to Emmaus after His resurrection,

and He shows them that the Jesus they knew as a prophet was the one all the prophets were

speaking of. He says in Luke 24:25-27. “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to

believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and

then enter his glory?” The Luke goes on, “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets,

he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.” Jesus is saying

here that he is the Messiah that the whole Old Testament was pointing to.

The words of Cleopas that Jesus was a prophet powerful in word and deed give us an

insight about a prophet that we seldom take note of. A prophet does not just speak the truth

of God, but he also acts out the truth of God. It is by both word and deed that he conveys the

message of God to man. This prophetic ministry in deeds is an aspect of the prophet’s life

that is neglected by us, but it was a major aspect of the ministry of Jesus. Some of the old

prophets had to act out their prophecies. Ezekiel had to act out the horror of the Babylonian

captivity with his own body, and Hosea had to marry a harlot to act out the grace and mercy

of God in loving the unfaithful Israel. Isaiah goes naked and barefoot in the streets of

Jerusalem to symbolize captivity (Is 20:3ff). Someone called these enacted prophecies. They

were like the drama we see in present day churches. They were plays that conveyed a

message that was also spoken, but the play was visual rather than just verbal. God used the

visual way back in the Old Testament to give a picture of what He was trying to

communicate. Many of the miracles of Jesus can be seen as visual images of the verbal

message He spoke. They were enacted prophecies that said God loves people and cares about

their every need, including those of food and health. They conveyed the message that God

will deliver from the forces of evil. They prophesied that there is coming a kingdom that will

be forever where love reigns supreme, and where evil is no more. All that Jesus did, as well

as what He said, was prophetic about what God was going to do in the future for His people.

Jesus not only said there would be a resurrection of the dead, He acted it out and raised

Lazarus. And then He raised Himself to demonstrate that death was conquered. He not only

said there was a heaven, He ascended into the clouds before His disciples to demonstrate it.

He not only said sin leads to death, He took sin upon Himself and died. Everything Jesus did,

as well as everything He said was prophetic and the fulfillment of prophecy. He was the

prophet par-excellance.

When Jesus was in His home town He claimed the title of prophet by saying in Matt.

13:57, “Only in his home town and in his own house is a prophet without honor.” He

experienced the typical welcome of the prophet, for they were almost always, rejected by the

people God sent them to. People do not like those who speak for God. There is something

about the truth of God coming through a human channel that turns people off. It seems like

audacity for any man to say, “Thus saith the Lord,” and so they refuse the message because

they despise the messenger. The prophets were the primary means by which God got His

communication to the people. The priest were so by heredity, but the prophets were specially

called by God to be His spokesmen. It was a high and holy office, but often not held in high

respect by the people of God.

The folly and tragedy of God’s people is summed up in II Chron. 36:15-16, “The Lord,

the God of their fathers, sent word to them through his messengers again and again, because

he had pity on his people and on his dwelling place. But they mocked God’s messengers,

despised his words and scoffed at his prophets until the wrath of the Lord was aroused

against his people and there was no remedy.” The consequence was the city of Jerusalem was

destroyed and they were carried away captive to Babylon. The greatest tragedies in the

history of God’s people all have the same source, and that is that they would not listen to the

prophets. The greatest tragedy in life for every person in history is when they do not listen to

the greatest prophet, the Lord Jesus Christ. It was a matter of life or death not to listen to

the prophets of old, but not to listen to Jesus is a matter of eternal life or death.

The Prophets say such high and lofty things, for they are speaking for God. Jesus,

however, did not speak for God, but as God. He was the very voice of God, and when people

heard His Word, they were hearing God speak, and not just His spokesman. That is why

Jesus is the greatest prophet. He was God speaking directly and not through another person.

All other prophets pointed to one who would come, but Jesus is the prophet who was the

fulfillment of those prophecies. People were meant to believe the words of the prophets, but

they were meant to believe, not just the words of Jesus, but they were to believe in Him.

Jesus said, “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus

Christ whom You have sent. I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work

which You have given Me to do” (John 17:3, 4). No other prophet could give eternal life, but

Jesus could, for He was the ultimate prophet. He was the very presence of God in human


Arthur Pink has some great comments on this text. He writes, “Someone has suggested an

analogy with what is recorded in Matthew 17. There we see Christ upon the holy Mount,

transfigured before His disciples; and, as they continue gazing on His flashing excellency,

they saw no man "save Jesus only." At first, there appeared standing with Him, Moses and

Elijah, and so real and tangible were they, Peter said, "If Thou wilt, let us make here three

tabernacles; one for Thee, one for Moses, and one for Elijah." But as they looked "a bright

cloud overshadowed them." and a Voice was heard saying, "This is My Beloved Son: hear

Him" (Luke 9:35). How significant are the words that immediately followed: "And when the

Voice was passed, Jesus was found alone." The glory associated with Moses and Elijah was

so eclipsed by the infinitely greater glory connected with Christ, that they faded from view.”

“Now it is something very much like this that we see here all through the Hebrews Epistle.

The Holy Spirit takes up one object after another, holds each one up as it were in the presence

of the all-excellent "Son," and as He does so, their glory is eclipsed, and the Lord Jesus is

"found alone." The prophets, the angels, Moses, Joshua, the Levitical priesthood, the Old

Testament men of faith, each come into view; each is compared with Christ, and each, in turn,

fades away before His greater glory. Thus, the very things which Judaism most highly esteemed

are shown to be far inferior to what God has now made known in the Christian revelation.”

The prophets of old did both foretell and forth tell the Word of God. Much of their

foretelling was about the judgment that was coming if God’s people did not change their ways.

Imagine you are at a playground with a group of mothers watching their kids play. You see a

small child who has climbed up high and is about to jump down, but who does not realize there

is another child right below who will be seriously hurt if they fall on him. You quickly turn to

the mothers and say, “Look at what is about to happen.” You can see that the near future is

going to produce a very negative scene if someone does not intervene. One mother screams at

her child about to jump, and the other runs to scoop up the child below. The tragic future that

was about to be has been avoided because of your prophetic message. Knowing the future is

going to be bad can be extremely helpful when you respond to change the present so that the

future will be different. That was the whole purpose of the prophets. They would tell Israel what

was ahead if they did not obey God’s Word, and if they repented of their disobedience the future

was bright rather than dark with judgment. All too often they did not listen and had to suffer

the judgment that was prophesied.

Jesus was the greatest prophet of all because He not only predicted what would happen to

Israel, but He predicted what would happen to all people if they did not receive God’s final and

full revelation in Him. In Matt. 24 and 25 we have two of the greatest chapters of prophecy

anywhere in the Bible. Jesus is the prophet and He tells the whole world for the rest of time what

the future is going to be, right up to the time of the final judgment. All other prophecy has to

be interpreted in the light of the words of the greatest of all prophets. The entire book of

Revelation is the revelation that God gave Jesus to show to his servants what was to be. Jesus

is the ultimate and supreme prophet, for it is by His revelation that we know what will be for the

end of time and for all eternity. There is no competition for the title The Greatest Prophet, for

there are none who can even qualify to foretell what Jesus foretells. You have to die, be raised

and ascended to the right hand of God just to qualify. Everything we need to know about the

future we know through the words and teachings of Jesus. If we need to know it, He has shown

it. He has given us an all-sufficient revelation of who God is, and the complete revelation of what

shall be forever in the presence of God in heaven. In Mark 13:23 Jesus said to his disciples, “I

have told you everything ahead of time.”

Then to add to the greatness of this greatest of prophets we note that He is the only prophet

who is also a great priest and king. Hebrews exalts Jesus as a unique high priest who ever lives

to plead our case before God and offer His own blood as the atonement that merits our

forgiveness. None of the prophets had such ability, and nowhere are they sought out to g ive

forgiveness. Only Jesus has the right to be our intercessor before God. Then He is also the King

of Kings. A king could be a prophet, as was the case with David, but he was not a priest. Nobody

ever combined all three roles of prophet, priest and king like Jesus did. He is the superlative

prophet because of the multiplicity of His offices, but more importantly because of the

superiority of His message. All of the prophets spoke the message that God gave them, but none

of those messages were as clear and profoundly significant for the future of God’s people as the

message that came from the greatest of prophets.

We may not think so, but the fact is, the task of the prophet is the most difficult of all the roles

that Jesus played. The priest is the conserver of the past, but the prophet is one who breaks new

ground. He looks to the future and all the possibilities that lay ahead depending on whether

people obey or disobey the messages that God gives through them. They are disliked and hated

because they do not conform to the status quo. Nothing stays put for the prophet, for the future

is open to a host of new things. It will be filled with God’s blessings or God’s judgments. They

give us pictures of the paradise that is possible, but also of the hell that is potential. Since people

are almost always going along in sinful and indifferent ways that will lead to judgment, they do

not like to hear warnings that disturb them. And so the job of the prophet is often one that is

filled with rejection, and Jesus knew this to the highest degree. Jim Sanders, a Bible scholar, was

talking about the profession of being a prophet, and its risks: "Do not set out to be a prophet

unless you look good on wood.” Jesus was crucified because of the message He brought from

God. But He still speaks today and we need to recognize that if we do not listen to Him our

houses will fall flat when the rains come. The only solid ground on which to build for eternity

is obedience to the words of God’s greatest Prophet.

By word and deed Jesus sums up the whole of what God wants to say to man. Jesus said:

"Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish

them but to fulfill them" (Matthew 5,17). “He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects

you rejects me, and who rejects me rejects him who sent me.” (Luke 10,16). Jesus is the

Prophet that all must hear or forever pay the consequence of rejecting God’s Word. There

are numerous ways in which Jesus parallels the words and deeds of all the Old Testament

prophets, but we have seen enough evidence to make it clear that Jesus was the greatest

Prophet of all time.