How did the early Christians convince their predominantly Jewish hearers that Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah? Which Messianic prophecies did they lean on? In four installments, we will examine a few of the key passages.
In a striking prophecy, Moses predicted, nearly 3300 years ago, that the Lord would raise up another prophet like him from among the Israelites. This is the very prophecy Peter cited as he addressed the Jews in Acts 3. Let us take a look at the text:
15 The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own brothers. You must listen to him. 16 For this is what you asked of the LORD your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you said, "Let us not hear the voice of the LORD our God nor see this great fire any more, or we will die." 17 The LORD said to me: "What they say is good. 18 I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him. 19 If anyone does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name, I myself will call him to account.
What do you notice? The prophet is to be Jewish. He is to be obeyed. Those who fail to listen will be called to account for their negligence. He And he is to be like Moses. In at least three respects, Jesus Christ was a prophet like Moses:
* He received revelation from the Father and conveyed it to the people.
* He not only spoke to the people, but he led them.
* He is the ultimate authority, to be obeyed. Those who reject that authority forfeit their place among God's people.
In Acts 3:17-26, see how the apostle Peter refers to this very passage as he appeals to the Jewish people to chart a different direction than that set for them by their leaders.
And even more may be said about this parallel between Moses and Christ:
* He intercedes for his people. See Exodus 32.
* He worked wonders -- miraculous attestation. Consider the Exodus miracles.
* He was humble. Compare Numbers 12:3 with Matt 11:28-30.
We see that Jesus is the figure prophesied in Deut 18. He fits the bill to a tee.