Was Jesus A Prophet Sent By God?
A simple question: Was Jesus a prophet sent by God according to the earliest gospels we have today? When I ask Christians this question and tell them that your bible says that was Jesus a prophet in the gospels? They say no. Where does it say that Jesus was God? And I’m saying that the gospel shows that God sent Jesus.
So to help answer this question, I thought I turned to a leading expert, the author of this wonderful book called the changing faces of Jesus by Geza Vermes. He is a professor of Jewish studies at Oxford, but he’s a historian, and his specialty is in the Jewish world in the Jewish context of the first century and the life of Jesus. In other words, he’s one of the world’s leading Jewish scholars. He’s written many books, and I recommend all of them.
In this book, he addresses the question, was Jesus a prophet. There’s a chapter called Jesus as a prophet in these synoptic gospels that’s in Matthew, mark, and Luke, and I just want to share with you what he says, which is quite interesting.
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Geza Vermes writes the unanimous testimony of the evangelists that’s Matthew, mark, and Luke leaves one in no doubt that sympathetic Galilean folk regarded Jesus as a prophet. This was not because of his ability to teach or tell the future the popular definition of the prophet Jesus from Nazareth of galilee.
Matthew 21:11 was based on the miracles and wonders ascribed to him witnessing the reawakening of the young man in the name. The crowd exclaimed a great prophet has risen among us.
Luke 7:16- The same observations are expressed in the closed circle of the followers of Jesus. The two disciples on the way to Emmaus describe the dead Jesus to the unrecognized risen Christ as a mighty prophet and word before God and before his people.
Luke 24:19, even Simon the Pharisee though personally unconvinced, knew that Jesus had a reputation as a prophet.
Luke 7:39 Furthermore, we are told that the deeply hostile chief priests hesitated to arrest Jesus because they feared the reaction of ordinary people for whom the charismatic Jesus was a messenger of God.
Matthew 21:46, at this point, we may venture one step further and note that according to the evangelist, Jesus perceived himself explicitly as a miracle-working prophet. The famous Nazareth episode is a profoundly revealing quote that a prophet is not without honor except in his own country, among his own kin, and his own house.
Mark 6:4, Matthew 13:57, Luke 4:24- The story’s context makes it plain that the locals’ dislike sparked Jesus’s disillusioned declaration for his charismatic teaching and mighty works.
Mark 6:2, Matthew 13:54– conversely, since the people of his hometown had no faith in him, the spiritually paralyzed Jesus was incapable of curing and exercising. Among them, he could do no miracles. He was powerless. According to Luke’s version, the Galilean Jesus saw a link between his charismatic deeds and those of Elijah and Elisha, the two foremost wonder-workers active in the northern kingdom of Israel.
Of course, they were prophets. When he remarked no prophet is acceptable in his own country, but in truth, I tell you there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, and Elijah was sent to none of them but only to Zarephath in the land of Sidon to a woman. Who was a widow, and there were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha and none of them was cleansed but only Naaman the Syrian?
Luke 4:24-7, it is impossible to prove the verbal authenticity of these sayings, but as far as their substance is concerned, I do not doubt that it was not in the interests of the evangelists or the primitive church to invent them. They went against the grain; indeed, the tendency revealed in both acts of the apostles and john in the gospel of john was to enhance the statue of Jesus from miracle-working prophet to ultimate mouthpiece of God through the correcting prism of the church’s faith.
Unsurprisingly Paul preferred to disregard the issue, and what observes throughout the centuries is a definite coolness on the part of new testament exegetes towards the very Jewish concept of the prophet Jesus perfectly at home in the world of unsophisticated Galilean Jews of his age. Consequently, the vignette of Jesus, the Elijah-like charismatic prophet, enjoys all the credentials of truth.
So there’s an abundance of references in the synoptic gospel to Jesus either being called a prophet, being described as a prophet, or calling himself a prophet. Because of this idea, this belief goes against the later church faith towards the end of the first century when the gospels are written.
Geza Vermes believes that these have a ring of truth. It’s not likely to be invented by the church as it went against the grain of their ever-increasing exaltation and deification of Jesus.
So I quoted the references the particular gospel references. If you want to stop to read the article, make a note the next time a Christian asks you What it says, was Jesus a prophet? What does he say as a prophet? There are abundant references for you.
Now, of course, later on, in the creeds and councils of the church, any idea of Jesus as a prophet is completely lost, and no one calls him that anymore. Now he’s the divine son of God of one being with the father and has worshiped alongside God the father.
I mean, you can see a huge massive trajectory from God’s prophet to being the universe’s creator. And Jews and Muslims, of course, find that transformation completely unacceptable. I think Geza Vermes would have agreed with them, but on historical grounds, such exalted beliefs about Jesus are not found in the earliest tradition we have in our records.
How Did Jesus Fulfill The Role Of A Prophet?
The old testament is filled with recurring themes and figures that point us toward Jesus, And that is the ultimate fulfillment of Jesus.
Within the religious and social life of God’s people, there were three essential roles that all in some way foreshadowed him.
One of those was the office or role of the prophet so let’s take a look at how Jesus fulfills that role.
What Is The Role Of A Prophet?
The role of the prophet in the life of God’s people was to serve as a spokesperson or mediator for god prophets communicated God’s will to the people encouraging them in faithfulness and calling them to repentance when they turned away from God.
The first of Israel’s prophets was Moses, who gave the people the law and led them through their 40-year journey in the wilderness. When Moses reached the end of his life, he told the Israelites that God would raise up another prophet like him from among the people. He said he was the one they were to listen to, and after he died, God raised more prophets, including Samuel Nathan, Elijah Isaiah, and Jeremiah, just to name a few.
But as time passed, there came an expectation of a final prophet, and the new testament writers explicitly drew a connection between that the final prophet that Moses promised and Jesus.
How Did Jesus Christ Act As A Prophet?
Jesus is the fulfillment of the role of prophet in that he alone is the ultimate teacher who has the words of eternal life (John 6:68).
But Jesus is unique in the role of a prophet because he doesn’t just communicate the will of God. Jesus is the very word of God in God’s ultimate revelation of himself.
Was Jesus A Prophet Verses?
Most people believe that Jesus was a prophet, but the truth is that He was actually the Son of God. He died for our sins so that we could have eternal life. If you want to learn more about Him, we recommend starting with John 1:1-18. It is important to know who Jesus really is so that you can have a personal relationship with Him.