Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. Hebrews 1:1-2 (ESV)
So far in 2018, I have been taking time to dig deep into the book of Hebrews. Every weekday morning this year the words "God has spoken in his Son" have greeted me like an old friend. The familiarity I am getting with these two verses has caused me to think deeply about what they mean.
What I am continuing to learn is what good news this is for us. As we look through the history of the Old Testament there were prophets who spoke for God. The people asked for this. As Moses reminds the Israelites in Deuteronomy 18:16, they could not stand to have God come near to them and speak. They wanted a mediator who would be the one who would deliver the message of the LORD to them. For this, God used prophets.
This had two inherent drawbacks. Moses acknowledges this in Deuteronomy 18. The first problem reveals itself in the reason that Moses is speaking to them. He is telling them a new prophet will come after him. He will not be with them forever. A prophet has to be replaced because the prophet will die. The second problem Moses points out is disturbing. There will be those who will claim to speak for the LORD who are not from him. We can see both of these problems in stories we know from the Old Testament. There are many prophets. Death did not escape any of them except Elijah and still, he was taken from the earth and did not prophesy for all time. We also see the dangers of false prophets who lead the people astray and brings death.
We easily understand the problem of deception. In many years of youth ministry, I often used a game called "Two Truths and a Lie" with students. In this game, you come up with three statements about yourself. Two true and one false. Some students are better at this than others. There is always a student that has an obviously false statement. Statements almost as outrageous as "my family vacations on the moon". Other students are more crafty. It doesn't matter how well you know the students they able to shape a statement that is almost impossible to identify as false.
If this is the case with a youth group game, how much truer is this in real life? There are those who are crafty in deceiving in the name of God. The consequences of deception in the name of God is deadly. We dare not be lead astray. This is why we need something better than fallible prophets. We need an infallible prophet who will never fade away.
In his ascension, Jesus is now seated at the right hand of the Father. The New Testament is clear, he is our mediator. He is the one who goes between us and God on our behalf. Jesus is our eternal prophet. The point of the prophets in the Old Testament was to speak to the people for God but their most important task was to point to one greater than themselves. The purpose of the Old Testament revelation was to show us Christ. Now, we have him. In Jesus, we have a prophet who has spoken to us and he will not die and will not speak falsely. God has spoken in his Son, now and for all time.
This is good news for us because we do not need a new prophet to tell us what God says, we have his Word. This Word testifies to the work of Jesus to save us and it is sufficient for all that we need. We do not need to look to modern day prophets for a word from God. God has spoken in his Son and we have that in his Word. To look anywhere else would be a waste of time.
As you sojourn through this life you can trust the Word of God because it testifies to what Christ has done for you. Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly that you may have confidence that he alone is our eternal prophet.
Sermon delivered on February 11, 2018 at First Reformed Church in Edgerton, MN.
Sermon delivered on February 4, 2018 at First Reformed Church in Edgerton, MN.