A Prophet Like Me


Today's Reading: Deuteronomy 18:15-19

The Gospel of Matthew goes to great lengths to show the correlations between Jesus and Moses. If you were to glance back at the early chapters of Matthew, what you see is a story ripe with parallels and similarities between the two.  Both were survivors of an attempt at killing off young boys, both found themselves in Egypt, both came out of Egypt in their own sort of Exodus, both go up on a mountain to receive and present the Law to the people.  All of this is tied to a Jewish belief that no prophet has ever, or ever will, exceed Moses.  In fact, in Judaism, the "pre-eminence of Moses among the prophets" is considered a fundamental belief akin to the Christian belief in Jesus' divinity; by an large, you will not be considered a true Jew if you do not believe that Moses was the best of the best.  Matthew then comes along and says "Jesus is the one like Moses - he is even better than Moses!"

While this would have been considered heresy by Jews of the day, it was firmly in line with what Moses himself said would happen: that one day God would raise up a prophet like himself and that the people must listen to him.  But what's more, the people aren't just supposed to listen to him, God says that he will judge and assess the people's faith on the basis of whether or not they heed this new prophet's words.

While we may acknowledge that Jesus is prophet, priest, and king, we tend to put all our attention on the priest and king parts.  But Jesus was also prophet - he was God's spokesman, the final word on what God was and is doing in our world, and the good news of forgiveness and salvation.  He is a prophet - a messenger - like Moses, but not exactly Moses...he is better than Moses.  He has shown the way from captivity to the true Promised Land!