DECEMBER 2016: Served as editor for the four weeks of adult and family devotionals to coincide with the Advent series at RISE City Church. Also, wrote the piece for Week 2 (below).
Jesus is the Perfect Prophet – Deuteronomy 18:15-18, Romans 16:25-26 01
In Deuteronomy 18, the Lord tells Moses what the people of Israel can expect in the future. “I 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” Deuteronomy 18:18
Throughout the Old Testament, God would raise up prophets from his people, the Israelites, to speak on his behalf. Elijah and Jonah, Isaiah, Micah and Daniel, all serving as the Lord’s mouthpiece. Hosea and Jeremiah, living, breathing illustrations of the Lord’s message.
Regarded as crazy at best, hated and persecuted at worst, the role of prophet was a tough gig. And yet God tells Moses he will raise up another prophet, Jesus. The little baby in the manger we celebrate now at Christmas will grow up to say and do some crazy things, like brandish a whip and chase people out of the Temple (Luke 2:15) and begin his public ministry with the very sandwich sign-worthy statement, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17). He will make wild claims about his own divinity and will pay dearly for it.
Jesus, our Perfect Prophet, is himself prophecy fulfilled. God delivered on each and every promise made through the prophets in Jesus. Immanuel dwelling with us, the sinless thread of our redemption running unbroken through generations of rebellious veins. He is coming, they said, to bind up the brokenhearted and set the captives free. And just as Jesus himself prophesied, he was betrayed, died, rose, and ascended to heaven, securing our eternal hope by defeating sin and death for all time.
God said, and it happened, again and again. And yet, so much of my discontent stems from my own forgetfulness and doubt. I forget his faithfulness, choosing self-reliance. I doubt his goodness, favoring discouragement. I overlook his perfect provision and dwell in the not enough. But it’s in these spaces between, the then and not yet, between slavery and the Promised Land, we must cling to the great and precious promises of our Lord. For his Word never fails and he is faithful to deliver just as he said, again and again.
Four hundred years of silence broke as the Word became flesh and let out his first squalling cry. Heaven burst into song as the long-awaited Messiah emerged from the pages of prophecies into the arms of an awe-struck virgin girl. This is Advent. Not a season, but a blessed assurance. Hope, peace, joy, love, Jesus – each candle lit charging the darkness in remembrance and expectation, promises fulfilled and promises awaited.
“This beautiful revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God” (Romans 16:25-26). Christ in the manger, but a down payment on the glory yet to come.
Read Deuteronomy 18:15-18 and Romans 16:25-26
- Prior to Jesus, God used prophets to speak on his behalf. Do you think it’s easier to listen to God now (with the help of the Holy Spirit)? Why or why not?
- Often prophets called for people to turn back to the Lord. It’s common in our culture to view Christianity as a religion of turning from, as in turning away from things we “shouldn’t” do. Is there a difference in turning from things you deem sinful and turning toward God? Explain.
- Where have you witnessed the Lord’s faithfulness? His goodness? His provision in your life? (If you are in a season where this is difficult, spend time meditating on the following verses: Psalms 36:5, 1 Chronicles 16:34, Philippians 4:19.)
- In what areas do you have a tendency to doubt the Lord’s faithfulness, His goodness, or His provision?
- Joshua 21:45 declares, “Not one word of all the good promises that the Lord had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass.” Look back at your answer for question four. Spend time in prayer addressing all of your worry and all of your doubts, laying each burden down at the feet of Jesus.