Prophets come in all shapes and sizes. If you speak of prophets in Christian circles, they will recall Old Testament folks like Isaiah and Jeremiah. But what about Jesus? Was he just a prophet among the many prophets?
Generally, prophets are known by their claim to speak about secret events or to reveal some divine truth not known by their hearers. And since it is unknown, there could be many so-called prophets who will say interesting things. But who is to know if they are speaking from supernatural, inspired knowledge, or just making stuff up?
When prophets predict some future event that doesn’t come true, it certainly causes us quickly to lose confidence in their claim to have a special ability as a prophet. We ought to listen carefully to those who have never missed once.
That narrows the field of prophets down quite a bit. While in Japan I was touring a Buddhist Temple at Narita. The monks were busy scribbling “holy writings.” I asked a teacher what they were doing, and he said, “They are updating their holy writings in order to make them relevant to today.” If their prophets were supposed to proclaim some divine truth, it would surely be suspect and hardly reliable.
Compare that to the prophets of the Bible. Every one of their prophecies was fulfilled. The Bible hasn’t changed in over 3000 years, and still every prophecy holds true. Quite dependable, wouldn’t you say?
Jesus was called a prophet. Matter of fact, Moses told God’s people to be looking for this prophet (Deuteronomy 18:18). When Jesus lived on earth, he did prophesy about the coming of the kingdom of God and about his purpose to save the world. He often spoke about his own suffering and death. Other prophets spoke of these things too, but what sets Jesus apart from all the other prophets is the fact that all the other prophets directed their attention to the promised Savior—to Jesus.
Jesus fulfilled every prophecy about the promised Savior. He was born from a virgin in Bethlehem; he descended from the Tribe of Judah; after his birth there would be a massacre of babies; he rode a donkey into Jerusalem; he was betrayed by his friend for 30 pieces of silver; he was rejected by his own people; and he was accused and condemned unjustly. Then came the big fulfillments. He suffered on a cross while the soldiers cast lots for his clothes. He died and then had his side pierced without one bone being broken, Jesus was buried with the rich and rose again from the dead – everything just as had been prophesied about him.
No other prophet, either Christian or non-Christian, has come close to fulfilling what Jesus did. No other prophet has come close to proclaiming accurately the secret things of God like Jesus did. No other prophet has come close to fulfilling prophecy like Jesus has.
Jesus is a prophet. But he is much more. He is the Savior of the world. He has freed us from the punishment of sin and hell. Jesus is our Savior. You can count on it!