The Prophetic Word
By nature, we do not see any beauty in Jesus. Of our own accord we do not declare that Jesus is wonderful, that Jesus is beautiful, that Jesus is incomparable. Left to ourselves, we are in utter darkness, having rejected what God has made obvious to us.
Spiritual darkness, noted the 17th-century Puritan Thomas Watson, is worse than natural darkness, yet “natural darkness affrights,” whereas “spiritual darkness is not accompanied with horror” and “men tremble not at their condition; nay, they like their condition well enough.” We love darkness rather than light because the inclination of our hearts, and of our deeds, is actually evil (John 3:19-20).
Is there any light for our darkness? Is there any freedom from our bondage to self? The answer, of course, is an emphatic yes—namely, in the person of Jesus Christ! And as we consider how it is that Christ brings light and life, by God’s grace we are moved all over again to praise Him as wonderful, as beautiful, and as incomparable.
Consider, for example, how Jesus is the greatest and final prophet (Hebrews 1:1-3). God’s sending of His prophets, and finally His Son, represents an implicit judgment on us, since it is our shortcomings that make prophets necessary. We are by nature ignorant of God. We need divine help in order to grasp life’s most important truths.
Old Testament prophets were anointed and sent by God to speak into the people’s ignorance and blindness. These prophets, however, only spoke the word of God. When God came to us in the person of Jesus, He came as the Word of God, to speak into our ignorance, to unstop our deaf ears, and to open our blind eyes. Here is the greatest of the prophets.
We find in the Gospels that as Jesus began His ministry, He was almost immediately viewed as a prophet. So it was that following the raising of the widow of Nain’s son, the people responded, “A great prophet has arisen among us!” Similarly, in John 6, when the 5,000 were fed, the response was “This is indeed the Prophet who is to come into the world!” (John 6:14). Indeed, Jesus Himself acknowledged this role when, in Luke 4, He pointed out in Nazareth that “no prophet is acceptable in his hometown” (Luke 4:24).
Jesus came as the very Word of God. And so, in Him, the prophetic word has found its fulfillment, and in Him we discover the ultimate expression of truth—the truth contained not only in His teaching but also in His person. We need Jesus to teach our hearts, to dispel our darkness, to reach us in a way that no one else can. Until He teaches us, we will never learn about Him. Until we see Him as the Word of God, we will never be wise for salvation. But when this greatest of the prophets speaks truth to our hearts, we say, “This is truth”—and we praise the one who is all truth as our wonderful, beautiful, incomparable Teacher and Savior.
Christ's Glory and the Prophetic Word
16For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son,9 with whom I am well pleased,” 18we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. 19And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, 20knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone's own interpretation. 21For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
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