Advent Midweek 1 – “Jesus Our Prophet!”
Advent Midweek 0118 – “Jesus Our Prophet!” Deuteronomy 18:15-19 and Hebrews 3:1-6
Grace to you and peace from God, our Father, and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen.
The text for our sermon meditation is taken from the book of Deuteronomy and the book of Hebrews.
“17And the LORD said to [Moses], ‘They are right in what they have spoken. 18I 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. 19And whoever will not listen to my words that he shall speak in my name, I myself will require it of him.”” [Dt.18]
“5Now Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later, 6but Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son. And we are his house if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope.” [Heb. 3]
So far the reading.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
God’s richest blessing be upon us, His people, as we gather in this Advent Season to worship our Prophet, Jesus. God give us ears to hear and faith to trust in the One who brings God’s Word to fulfillment at the proper time.
What is a prophet? A prophet is someone who speaks at the behest of God. Like a slave doing the bidding of his master, so the prophet speaks only what he is commanded to speak. He can say nothing other than what God desires His people to hear.
Throughout the Old Testament God sent many prophets to His people. Their words were of both warning and of hope. When the people of God wandered away from obedience and faith, the prophets of God brought words of warning and destruction. They called for repentance and return to obedience and faithfulness. When the people of God refused to repent the words of the prophets became even more forceful. They threatened God’s judgment upon those who were disobedient and even the overthrow of God’s people.
Yet, in the face of this coming judgment, God tempered His discipline with words of mercy. God’s prophets spoke of redemption and restoration. The greatest redemption and restoration would come through a prophet unlike all who had come before. Even Moses cannot compare to this prophet who was to come.
We first consider Moses for a few moments. God called Moses for a great purpose. Such purpose was concealed in the ordinary birth of this prophet of God. Moses was born into slavery but raised in a king’s house. Pharaoh’s daughter adopted Moses and named Moses as her own child. Moses grew and was trained along with Pharaoh’s people. He learned the role of leadership and decision making that would later serve him in good stead.
Yet, Moses was not an innocent man of God. He had the blood of his fellow man on his hands. Moses took the life of an Egyptian and fled the presence of Pharaoh. He lived forty years in the land of Midian where he tended flocks and raised his family.
Moses could not flee God. God came to Moses speaking to him through a burning bush. In that place God consecrated Moses to be His prophet. Moses was given the authority and Word of God to bring to Pharaoh and Israel. Pharaoh was to set God’s people free from their slavery in Egypt. Israel was to follow Moses to the land of promise given to their father Abraham. There they were to become a great nation and be a holy people set apart for God’s purpose.
God gave Moses great authority to speak. This authority was shown in the mighty wonders poured out in judgement upon Egypt. Through Moses God afflicted Egypt with ten plagues of divine vengeance. With each plague the authority of God over all of creation was shown to the people of Egypt and to Israel. Destruction came upon Egypt and deliverance came to Israel.
The writer to the Hebrews speaks to us of the Greater Prophet of God. This prophet was similar to Moses but greater in authority and greater in the deliverance He would bring. Moses was called by God from the tribe of Levi. Moses was a sinful man who at the first refused the call of God to be His prophet. The Greater Prophet is God’s own Son, whose birth we celebrate in a few short days.
Jesus is the Greater Prophet of God. He comes not from the tribe of Levi, but from the tribe of Judah. He comes in fulfillment of Jacob’s prophetic words to bring greater deliverance to the world. Jesus leads not only the children of Israel, but the whole world out of slavery. This slavery is not to a harsh earthly taskmaster. Rather it is slavery to sin and death which comes to us through the judgment of God’s Law.
Like Moses, the Greater Prophet Jesus Christ worked signs and wonders among the people. He did not bring plagues down upon the people as did Moses. Rather, Jesus brought healing, restoration and life to those who suffered under the effects of sin. The blind were given sight. The deaf were given ears to hear. The lame were given legs and feet with strength. Those with withered hands were given hands that could be lifted heavenward in praise to God. The mute were given voices to shout their deliverance. The dead were given new life in the powerful words of the Greater Prophet. The hands of this Greater Prophet multiplied the food of heaven and comforted those who hungered and thirsted after God’s righteousness and salvation.
Those same hands would also be covered in blood. Yet, this blood would not be the blood of a fellow human being as were Moses’ hands. The blood which covered the hands of the Greater Prophet, Jesus is his own holy precious blood. The blood on Jesus hands flowed from the wounds of our salvation. Those wounds were from the nails which pierced his holy sinless hands. Those wounds were from the marks of the scourge which lashed his arms, his body and his legs. Those wounds were from the crown of thorns pushed down upon his holy head. Those wounds were the punishment for sins not his own.
From the cross of suffering and shame the Greater Prophet spoke the absolution of God upon a world lost in sin. The Greater Prophet prayed to His Father to forgive all sinners. The Greater Prophet comforted the penitent sinner with the hope of eternal life. The Greater Prophet endured the eternal wrath of God. The Greater Prophet declared victory over sin and death and the end of judgment for the penitent. The Greater Prophet gave up His spirit in the certain hope that He would rise from the grave in three days never to die again.
The Greater Prophet, Jesus Christ still speaks to us today. We have before us His written word. In that word we hear the same voice that spoke so long ago to those who were chained in slavery to sin and death. We hear Jesus calling to us to turn from sin and seek the face of God. The voice of Jesus cries out, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
Moses could give no comfort like this. He was called by God only to lead God’s people to the place of security and peace. Moses could not bring an end to suffering. Such a work was reserved only for the hands of the Greater Prophet, Jesus Christ. Jesus not only leads us to salvation, he is salvation. Jesus alone brings deliverance and life eternal. His rest is the assurance that God forgives sins, redeems the sinful and reserves the penitent for His eternal kingdom.
In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.