Jesus – a Prophet
by A. R. Wright
Below is the next in our series of articles written by A. R. Wright for children and young people. Alexander R. Wright grew up in Northern Ireland. He became a minister of the Reformed Presbyterian Church in 1934 and served in the Ballylaggan Congregation, until his retirement in 1971.
He was specially interested in young people and cared deeply for them. As a result, he wrote “The Pages for the Young People” in the denomination’s monthly church magazine, “The Covenanter”, from 1935 until 1966. We have republished these articles in digital format, with the permission of Rev Wright’s family.
According to Scripture, a prophet is one who speaks for another. Aaron was called a prophet because he spoke for Moses. Jesus Christ is called a prophet because He spoke for God. He declared the Father to people, and He revealed the Father’s will for people. This He did directly when he was here on earth, and this He does indirectly today through his Word and Spirit.
Perhaps we could speak more simply if we use the term ‘teacher’ instead of the term ‘prophet’. In Scripture, these two terms are often used differently, but as applied to Christ they practically imply one and the same thing. Jesus the Prophet is Jesus the Teacher. And we all know something about Christ as Teacher. He taught simply. The common people heard Him gladly. He taught boldly, He taught powerfully, and He taught graciously.He was the world’s greatest Teacher. Mohammed and Confucius and Buddha are not to be compared with Him. And today His teaching is still suitable for us. Let us notice several points regarding His teaching.
- His teaching had to do with the past.
As you read the gospel story you see plainly that Christ on earth honoured the past in His teaching. How often we find Him referring to the Law and the Prophets. “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy but to fulfill”. And how often we find Him quoting from the Old Testament and referring to incidents in the Old Testament. Christ was a Biblical teacher. He knew His Bible well, and He seems to have been especially fond of the Psalms. He did not regard them as being Jewish and old-fashioned as many do today. He showed that they spoke of Himself and that they were suitable for every age. He regarded Himself as the Messiah of the Old Testament.
- His teaching had to do with the present.
Jesus’ subject matter was often drawn from the past but it was always suitable for the present. He always suited His message to the needs of His audience, and His words were always practical. His great subject was the Kingdom of Heaven. He showed that this kingdom was spiritual and not material, that it consisted of those who were trusting in Himself and doing the Father’s will. How often we find Him inviting sinners, old and young, to come to Himself for rest and life and satisfaction. “Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” “If any man thirst let him come unto me and drink.” “Suffer the little children to come unto me.” And how often we find Him setting forth the duties that are binding upon His people; the duty of brotherly love, the duty of forgiveness, the duty of giving, and the duty of prayer. These duties He taught in his Sermon on the Mount, in his parables, and especially by His own example. And today His words are still appropriate for us. They are suitable for all classes of people and they are suitable for all ages. His teaching is never out of date.
- His teaching had to do with the future.
The prophets in the Old Testament times looked forward to a time when the Messiah would come, and Jesus Christ in the New Testament times looked forward to a time when His kingdom would be established upon the earth, and when the end of the world would come. How often we find Him speaking of Heaven and Hell, of that great day when all men shall be judged according to the deeds done in the body. Christ spoke much about the awful reality of Hell, always speaking tenderly and in love for the purpose of warning people of their danger. And then He spoke also much about the blessed reality of Heaven, about the happiness of those who inhabit the many-mansioned Home. And you remember He said regarding that Home, “I am the way”.
Young people, if you want to live the Christian life and to be prepared for the future life, and to be ready to meet your Maker, then read the gospels carefully and prayerfully, and apply the Savior’s teaching to your own souls. It all amounts to this- trust and obey.
If you have a bit more time on your hands than normal, why not sit down with your children and read this to them? Or record a video message of you reading this story and send it to your grandchildren if you are unable to see them in person?