By Editorial Staff
The descriptions of Jesus in the New Testament include “Prophet of God” and “God’s Messenger”. I will deal with some positions where Jesus is given those two descriptions in detail.
Is Jesus the Prophet of God?
The New Testament quotes Jesus as describing himself as a “prophet”. For example, we read the following statements of Jesus to his disciples: “The one welcoming you is welcoming Me. And the one welcoming Me is welcoming the One having sent Me forth. The one welcoming a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive the reward of a prophet. And the one welcoming a righteous one in the name of a righteous one will receive the reward of a righteous one.” (Matthew 10:40-41)
We also read: And having come into His hometown, He was teaching them in their synagogue, so that they were astounded and saying “From where did this wisdom and the miracles come to this One? Is not this One the son of the carpenter? Is not His mother called Mary, and His brothers, James and Joseph and Simon and Jude? And His sisters, are they not all with us? From where then did all these things come to this One?” And they were taking-offense at Him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his house”. (Matthew 13:54-58)
Besides, the New Testament quotes Prophet Zacharias as describing Jesus as “the prophet of the Most High”. He said: “And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him.” (Luke 1:76)
The New Testament also quotes a woman as describing Jesus as a “prophet” while talking to him. He did not disapprove of or negate that. We read: “’Sir,’ the woman said, ‘I can see that you are a prophet.’” (John 4:19)
Moreover, the New Testament quotes prophecies made in the Old Testament about the advent of a prophet after Moses. According to the New Testament’s authors, such prophecies stand for Jesus.
We read: “And that he may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you…For Moses said, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you must listen to everything he tells you. Anyone who does not listen to him will be completely cut off from their people.’” (Acts 3:20-23)
We also read: “This is that Moses, which said unto the children of Israel, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear.” (Acts 7:37)
As a matter of fact, the above verses do not prophesy Jesus but Muhammad for two contextual clues: the first clue is that Moses did not say “of you”, i.e. the children of Israel, but said “of your brethren”. The brethren of the children of Israel are the children of Ishmael, i.e. the Arabs. The second clue is that Moses said: “Anyone who does not listen to him will be completely cut off from their people.” The Jews who did not listen to Jesus were not completely cut off from their people, but those Jews who did not listen to and betrayed Muhammad were actually cut off from their people.
Anyway, supposing that those verses prophecy Jesus, we notice that Moses said: “A prophet…like unto me”, that is to say that Christians believe that Jesus is a prophet of God according to the New Testament itself.
Is Jesus the Messenger of God?
Jesus is unequivocally described as “God’s messenger” in the New Testament. We read: “And so, dear brothers and sisters who belong to God and are partners with those called to heaven, think carefully about this Jesus whom we declare to be God’s messenger and High Priest. He was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in all God’s house.” (Hebrews 3:1-2)
We often observe that Jesus frequently states that God “sent” rather “begot” him, which conclusively confirms that Jesus is a messenger sent by God and that his alleged sonhood of God is a metaphorical one. Had it been a literal one, Jesus would have said “begot me” rather than “sent me” and explained the nature of such irrational sonhood.
For example, we read: “Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. Whoever welcomes a prophet as a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever welcomes a righteous person as a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward.” (Matthew 10:40-41)
We also read: “He took a little child whom he placed among them. Taking the child in his arms, he said to them, ‘Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.’” (Mark 9:36-37)
We further read: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free.” (Luke 4:18)
We also notice that the New Testament equates a prophet, Moses, with Jesus when it comes to the most exclusive characteristics of Jesus. For example, the New Testament describes Moses as “made a ruler and judge” and “God sent him to be a ruler and savior”. All of those descriptions are usually given to Jesus exclusively in the New Testament.
We read: “So God sent back the same man his people had previously rejected when they demanded, ‘Who made you a ruler and judge over us?’ Through the angel who appeared to him in the burning bush, God sent Moses to be their ruler and savior.” (Acts 7:35)
The New Testament also equates Moses with Jesus for both were faithful to the one who appointed them. A prophet can be equated only with a prophet. A prophet cannot be equated with a son of God.
We read: “And so, dear brothers and sisters who belong to God and are partners with those called to heaven, think carefully about this Jesus whom we declare to be God’s messenger and High Priest. He was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in all God’s house.” (Hebrews 3:1-2)
Not only does the New Testament equate Jesus with a prophet like Moses, but it also equates him with his disciples when it comes to such characteristics which are exclusive to him. Thus, nothing left in the New Testament which distinguishes Jesus and raises him above the human level.
We read: “Whoever listens to you listens to me; whoever rejects you rejects me; but whoever rejects me rejects him who sent me.” (Luke 10:16)
We also read: “Very truly I tell you, whoever accepts anyone I send accepts me; and whoever accepts me accepts the one who sent me.” (John 13:20)
We further read: “As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.” (John 17:18)
“Again Jesus said, ’Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.’” (John 20:21)
“That they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.” (John 17:21-23)
Jesus’ literal sonhood of God is negated and his prophethood is confirmed by his repeated acknowledgement of his inability to do anything by himself and his affirmation that all of his acts were actually done by God Who sent him.
We read: “By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.” (John 5:30)
In clear-cut terms, Jesus emphasized more than once that he was sent to let people know the only true God. Had Jesus been a son of God literally, he would have, for example, called on people to worship him beside God for being the son of God.
However, Jesus’ call for monotheism has only one implication which is the oneness of God and Lord as well as the negation of polytheism arising from belief in Jesus as a son of God in a literal sense for this contradicts what Jesus himself expressly called for.
We read: “Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” (John 17:3)
Finally, Jesus told us that he was sent only to the children of Israel. Only a prophet was sent to a certain people. A son of God would have been sent to all humanity. As God is the Lord of all mankind, His alleged son should have been a demigod for all mankind.
We read: “And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us. But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Then came she and worshiped him, saying, Lord, help me. But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs.” (Matthew 15:22-26)
1- The Holy Bible (Visit biblegateway.com)